NHL

NHL during the Seattle Center Arena groundbreaking ceremony
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NHL Seattle raises $1 million for COVID-19 assistance

NHL Seattle is determined to be a positive influence in the community and will support local at-risk families and nonprofit organizations during this challenging situation.

Tuesday, Seattle’s leadership group announced that staff and partners of the organization have raised $1 million to assist those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our NHL and New Arena dreams for Seattle were born out of a strong collaboration and partnership with the City to create something powerful and lasting for our community,” CEO Tod Leiweke said in a statement. “In that spirit, we are committed to giving back to those among us with an urgent and immediate need.”

A large percentage of the funds raised will go to the United Way of King County’s Community Relief Fund to support the Office of Sustainability and Environment’s (OSE) expanded grocery voucher program. It will distribute $800,000 in grocery vouchers to working people who have recently lost their jobs or experienced a reduction in hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These grocery vouchers will be critical to helping working families put food on the table,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said. “I’m deeply grateful to our partners at OVG and NHL Seattle for their efforts to support families and non-profits in Seattle.”

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Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.

Eichel, Bauer team up to donate much-needed medical equipment

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Jack Eichel was enjoying a career-best season up until the NHL pause, but his greatest impact has come during the stop in action.

Buffalo’s captain purchased 5,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) masks from the hockey equipment manufacturer, Bauer. The essential items will be distributed to various hospitals throughout Western New York.

“I am so thankful to all those medical professionals that are on the front lines taking care of our community in the battle against this virus,” Eichel said in a team issued release. “The dedication to Western New York that they continue to show is incredible. I am happy to work with my friends at Bauer to purchase these masks. Hopefully, they will help play a part in keeping our hospital workers safer and healthier.”

Bauer recently repurposed their production facilities and began developing medical shields for healthcare professionals, emergency responders and other heroes fighting the coronavirus on the front lines. According to ESPN.com’s Emily Kaplan, more than 100,000 units have been ordered across Canada as of last week.

“We’re all on the same team in helping our medical professionals get the necessary protective equipment they need to help in the fight against COVID-19,” said Mary-Kay Messier, VP of Global Marketing, Bauer Hockey. “Nurses, doctors and so many others are risking their own health to save the lives of others. These are the true heroes of coronavirus. Our team was eager to step up and do what we can, just like Jack is stepping up to help his community in Buffalo. We’re grateful for this partnership with Jack and the Buffalo Sabres, and we hope others continue to help because we all need to support our families, friends and neighbors right now.”

RELATED: Bauer VP of global marketing Mary-Kay Messier joined the Our Line Starts podcast this week to discuss the company’s production transition and how others are aiding them in making protective gear.


Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.

Blues broadcaster ‘symptom free’ after self-quarantine

Longtime St. Louis Blues broadcaster John Kelly, jr. during the St. Louis Blues victory parade
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The quarantine strategy medical professionals have urged society to use have proved effective once again.

John Kelly, a broadcaster for the St. Louis Blues, tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and is now symptom free after being self-quarantined for 14 days.

The St. Louis Blues released the following statement earlier Friday.

The St. Louis Blues are confirming that play-by-play announcer John Kelly has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

John has been in self-quarantine since March 13. We are thrilled to report that John is now feeling strong and symptom free.

The health and safety of the entire Blues family remains our core focus during these unprecedented times. We wish John well as he continues his recovery at home.

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


Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.

Report: Seattle franchise to push back team name unveiling

Seattle NHL Name
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The NHL pause has extended to almost every aspect of the League, and that includes the 32nd franchise.

The new organization in Seattle was expected to release its name sometime in April but the announcement will be pushed back, according to the Sports Business Journal.

The Seattle franchise will join the NHL ahead of the 2021-22 season and expect to play their home games at the renovated KeyArena.

Late Tuesday evening, the Ottawa Senators announced that an unidentified player tested positive for COVID-19. It was the first confirmation of a positive test within the NHL since the coronavirus pandemic started to spread across the globe.

Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.

USHL, NAHL join list of leagues canceling seasons

USHL, NAHL join list of leagues canceling seasons COVID-19
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More leagues are canceling their seasons due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), as the USHL and NAHL both recently made such announcements.

Update: The WHL also canceled its season. The OHL followed suit shortly after.

The USHL is the top junior hockey league in the U.S., while the NAHL represents Tier II.

USHL statement on canceling season

The USHL released this statement, clarifying the cancellation after previously announcing a delay on March 12.

“This decision was not an easy one to make, but was a necessity in order to keep our athletes, staffs and fans in all 16 of our communities safe amid this international health risk,” USHL President and Commissioner Tom Garrity said. “While we believe our product is the best junior hockey that fans can view, we also understand the health of our athletes, employees, fans and communities is more important during this time.”

NAHL releases statement on canceled season

The NAHL’s statement was interesting, as commissioner Mark Frankenfeld made a point to say that the biggest disappointment was for players. Here’s that full statement:

“The NAHL and its Board of Governors did everything in our power to preserve a modified playoff and Robertson Cup Finals to ensure our players had every opportunity to compete for and win a Robertson Cup Championship. The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation of cancelling all events of 50 or more people during the next eight weeks made that reality impossible without dramatically disrupting the rest of our hockey calendar. All NAHL teams will move forward with their tryout camp schedule, which is currently outside the CDC window.”

“We have had an incredible and memorable 2019-20 season up until this point, so this is a very sad day for everyone associated with the NAHL. We share that disappointment with all of our teams, parents, billet families, staff, sponsors, and fans. However, the biggest disappointment we have today is for our players. They are the backbone of the NAHL and we are blessed to have some incredible players and talent in our league. However, the safety of our hockey community, including all of our players, is our top priority and the decision to cancel the remainder of the season was necessary and in the best interest of everyone involved.”

List of leagues keep growing, NHL and AHL in holding pattern

With these announcements, the USHL and NAHL join the ECHL, QMJHL, several European leagues, and others in canceling their seasons outright.

The QMJHL made this additional announcement:

As you can see in the list of links at the bottom of this post, the NHL pushed back the possible resumption of the 2019-20 season/start of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs to May. And, of course, that could change. The AHL made a similar announcement.

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

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James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.