KHL cancels remainder of 2019-20 season

After pausing the Gagarin Cup playoffs following the withdrawal of two teams, the KHL has decide to pull the plug on the 2019-20 season.

The league said on Wednesday that various options were discussed as to how to complete the season. One idea was finishing the playoffs later in the year, but like the NHL, the KHL was not keen on interrupting the 2020-21 schedule, which is set to begin in late August/early September (if that’s even possible at this point in time).

From KHL president Alexey Morozov:

“It’s unfortunate that we have to finish the season early, and it wasn’t an easy decision. I’m sure that every fan, along with us, wanted to see the conclusion of the competition. However, the health of players and their loved ones, club employees, employees of sports facilities, and, of course, the fans, is much more important.

This decision could not be delayed, all those involved needed clarity and certainty in order to plan effectively. We thank everyone for their patience while we made this difficult decision.

I remain hopeful that the current situation will not affect next season.

I understand that many will be upset with the cancellation of the 2019-20 season, especially the fans of clubs that had progressed to the second round of the playoffs. However, we must follow the recommendations of health organisations.

Take care of yourself and your loved ones in this difficult time, and we will see you very soon.”

The KHL’s Board of Directors will decide the final standings at their next meeting as well as any changes to next season.

The Gagarin Cup playoffs were halted in the conference semifinals after Jokerit and Barys pulled out due to concerns with the coronavirus pandemic. Originally, the KHL was planning for a one-week break before coming up with a new format for the four remaining teams. Now, it’s completely over.

Follow this NBC News live update thread for more on the coronavirus pandemic.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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