Just a few hours after the MLB had to postpone several games due to a COVID-19 outbreak, the NHL released their own testing results for the final week of training camp. Those results were of a much different tenor, as the league had zero positive results out of 4,256 tests from last week. More than 800 players were included in those tests. During the two-week Phase 3 period, the league had two positive tests. All 24 teams have arrived in the bubble cities and will continue to be tested daily.
It’s hard to take this news as anything other than extremely encouraging for a league that is trying to finish the 2019-20 season in the safest way possible. The hurdle of getting to the bubble cities healthy was seen by many as the most difficult one, given the strict quarantine protocols they would be under once arriving. The players will now be stuck inside hotels and rinks for the next several weeks (or months, depending on how they perform), effectively completely isolated from the outside world. If they are heading into those bubbles completely healthy, there seems to be a good chance they will be able to finish the season.
It is important to remember that there are still obstacles in the way, but it does appear as though hockey is back. The exhibition schedule will start tomorrow, with official round-robin and qualification round games starting on the weekend.