Coronavirus forces NHL to close locker room access

Coronavirus forces NHL to close locker room access

The NHL will be the first of the major North American sports leagues to close locker room access to the media due to coronavirus concerns, according to ESPN.

The mandate, recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, means all media availability will be held in formal press conference areas. That will begin as early as Saturday.

The Islanders are playing an afternoon game at the Coliseum against Carolina, while the Devils will face the Rangers on Saturday night at the Garden.

The NHL previously had banned international travel for league-office employees. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN earlier this week that the NHL was “starting to explore contingency plans” should the coronavirus become a more significant health threat in North America ahead of the 2019-20 playoffs.

Daly didn’t rule out the potential for postponing or canceling games, or playing games in empty arenas without fans.

“I think it’s very unlikely — knock on wood, I’m hopeful — that we would progress to a stage where we have to consider something that dramatic,” Daly told ESPN. “But certainly everything is possible, and we have to look at all possible contingencies. If it gets to that point, we will be ready.”

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