The National Women’s Hockey League’s sixth season is over.
After, according to sources in Lake Placid, “several” new positive tests last night and this morning, the league made the decision to shut it down.
“We didn’t raise the cup,” said NWHL commissioner Ty Tumminia told reporters at a press conference late Wednesday afternoon. “I also will say it doesn’t mean we’re not going to raise the cup for season six. In this moment today we will not be raising the cup tomorrow. The fact that we didn’t get these athletes on their deserved platform on NBC that’s the most heartbreaking part.”
Connecticut pulled out of the season prior to its game with Minnesota on Monday evening and at the time, had no new positive tests on Monday morning following one the week before.
That changed, quickly, and the league made the tough decision to pull the plug right ahead of its semi-finals, which would have aired on NBCSN Thursday night featuring Toronto vs. Buffalo and Boston vs. Minnesota.
The NWHL and the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) have agreed, due to new positive COVID-19 tests and the resulting safety concerns for the players, their respective staff & the community that the remainder of the 2021 NWHL Season in Lake Placid have been suspended.
— NWHL (@NWHL) February 3, 2021
The Whale stayed in the same hotel as the Metropolitan Riveters — and Minnesota Whitecaps — who pulled out of the season a week ago with several positive tests, including players and coaches who were pulled from a game while it was happening.
The NWHL did not get to raise an Isobel Cup after its fifth season due to concerns at the start of the pandemic, shutting down the would-have-been game between Minnesota and Boston days before it took place.
Now, after trying to pull off a two-week season in Lake Placid, they will not raise one in year six.
Over the course of the past few days, three teams brought in a combined six new players, opening up what had been considered a bubble. There were reports of a known taxi squad for clubs, but some teams had expressed that option either wasn’t available to them or they felt uncomfortable expanding the environment.
The league released in a statement there would be a press conference later to field questions about that is next. Though the language coming from the NWHL is of the season being suspended, multiple sources in Lake Placid have said “it’s done.”