How grassroots hockey has been affected by COVID-19

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The NHL and every other professional hockey league in the world has been shut down due to growing concerns over the spreading of the the coronavirus, but owners, players, employees and fans aren’t the only ones affected by this.

Grassroots level hockey has also been put on hold right now in Canada and the United States.

“Obviously, we paid very close attention to what was going on in Canada and around the world,” Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney told TSN. “We paid attention to the ebb and flow of this virus as it made its way into Canada. We certainly paid a lot of attention to what our member branches were dealing with on a daily basis across the country.

“What it means is that hockey in Canada has been cancelled. It means that any hockey activity on and off the ice will be cancelled. It means that on-ice tryouts will be cancelled. Obviously, games, practices, those types of things. Anything that has the sanction of Hockey Canada would be cancelled. And under the circumstances, it’s the right thing to do.”

USA Hockey has also taken what they think are the necessary precautions.

In a release, they announced that they have cancelled at the National Championships (youth, high school, girls, adult and sled) and they also shut down the disabled hockey festival, which was set to take place in Pittsburgh between Mar. 26-29 and Apr. 2-5.

A lot of children will undoubtedly be saddened by this type of ending to their season, but it’s clearly the right thing to do at this time.

“We felt it was important to get the news of the cancellation out immediately,” said Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey. “We’re sure there will be many questions and we appreciate everyone’s patience as we together work through this unprecedented situation.

“While we’re disappointed that we had to make this decision, we celebrate the success of USA Hockey teams across the country this year, as well as the time and effort so many people invested into these signature events. We’re thankful to our national sponsors, tournament directors, volunteers and so many others for their support in making hockey an enjoyable experience for all.”

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

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