NHL stops cross-border travel for games through Holiday break

Seattle Kraken v Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 01: Carter Rowney #37 of the Detroit Red Wings tries to control the puck in front of Joonas Donskoi #72 of the Seattle Kraken during the second period at Little Caesars Arena on December 01, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 4-3 in a shootout. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

Hoping to slow down rising cases of COVID-19 across the league, the NHL and NHLPA released a statement on Sunday announcing the league's 2021-22 regular season schedule would continue, travel for upcoming games involving the crossing of the Canadian border would discontinue through the holiday break, and a temporary shut down of teams would be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

The Detroit Red Wings became the sixth team to shut down operations, joining the Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames and Nashville Predators, the team announcing a pause on their season through at least Dec. 26.

The Seattle Kraken, scheduled to host the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday (7pm), had Sunday's home game at Climate Pledge Arena against the Toronto Maple Leafs postponed due to COVID-19 protocol issues in Vancouver, involving the Canucks and Maple Leafs. The NHL will announce the rescheduled game at a later date, and all tickets for the originally scheduled Sunday game against Toronto will be validated for the rescheduled game.

Due to concerns of cross-border travel and the changing nature of federal travel restrictions, all games involving Canadian-based teams against U.S. based teams from Dec. 20-23 will be rescheduled.

A total of 27 games had been postponed as of Saturday and at least 12 more will be postponed through Dec. 23.

"We will continue to play the 2021-22 regular-season schedule," said the NHL and NHLPA in the joint statement. "Although there has been a recent increase in positive COVID test results among Players, coaches and hockey staff, there have been a low number of positive cases that have resulted in concerning symptoms or serious illness."

Discussions continue about NHL player participation in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, with a final determination on participation expected to come "in the oncoming days," according to the statement.

A deadline of Jan. 10 is set for the NHL to opt-out of Olympics participation without facing a financial penalty.

Kraken fall to Edmonton, 5-3 on Saturday night

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