Less than a week after Major League Baseball resumed its 2020 season, the Miami Marlins announced a team-wide COVID-19 outbreak, resulting in at least 17 players testing positive. The Marlins have postponed their remaining scheduled games through Sunday.
Major league sports have had to adjust how their seasons will continue in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Many leagues have opted to create “bubbles” by moving all their teams to a central city, isolating players from public spaces, testing regularly, and barring fans from attending games.
Major League Soccer recently reported zero positive tests from its hub in Orlando on Sunday. The news comes after FC Dallas and Nashville SC had to withdraw from the league earlier this month due to a number of positive coronavirus tests. The NBA also announced zero positive cases from its bubble, also located in Orlando.
Meanwhile, hockey players are ready to begin their new quarantined bubble life. Having arrived in their Canadian hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta earlier this week. The National Hockey League is resuming its 24-team postseason this Sunday and games are scheduled to last until the Stanley Cup is awarded this fall.
The NHL reported zero positive coronavirus cases after administering over 4,256 tests between July 18-25. The tests were issued to NHL employees, administrators, and over 800 players.
They have gotten off to a smooth start and believe they have taken the steps necessary to not let the coronavirus affect the league the way it has plagued the MLB.
What separates the NHL and the MLB is that the hockey league has limited its travel, thus lessening the chance of exposure to COVID-19. Although the MLB have been precautious, they still interact with stadium and hotel staffers, sometimes located in coronavirus hotspots.
Players will be confined to one of two hockey campuses in Canada, will have their own designated lounge and workout spaces, and are restricted from socializing with other teams. They will also be isolated in their hotel rooms on off-work days.
“It feels safe, it feels secure,” Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer said. “You wouldn’t know you’re in a bubble, to be honest with you.”
The NHL purposely avoided areas with a high prevalence of COVID-19 when choosing their hub cities. Deputy commissioner and chief legal officer of the NHL said the high number of positive cases in Las Vegas contributed to it being passed over as a hub city.
Gary Bettman, commissioner of the NHL said it was no coincidence that the postseason will be in Canada, where the pandemic is more under control.
“We have a good staff here. The entire Edmonton area is locked down pretty tight. The first few days, we’re quarantined to our own teams’ areas.” Golden Knights Forward Alex Tuch said Monday, “I’d be surprised if anything like (what happened in baseball) happened.”
“I think the fact that we’re all here now, you see everybody skating and game prep starting to ramp up, you feel like you’re in a safe environment,” DeBoer said. “It looks to me like we’re going to get this done, and that’s an exciting feeling.”
The Golden Knights will pick up their season this Monday in a round-robin match against the Dallas Stars.