NHL's postponement of games extended through Dec. 27
League to have update on return to play by end of Sunday
The latest sports news:
- NHL opts to postpone all games on Dec. 27
- Leafs' William Nylander enters protocol
- Everton-Burnley postponed
The NHL is extending its postponement of games as part of its pandemic response, announcing Friday that play has been paused through Dec. 27.
On Monday, the league, working with the National Hockey League Players' Association, decided to pause all activities in an attempt to avoid a league-wide shutdown, after a number of teams were sidelined by a rise in positive COVID-19 cases.
Initially, games were postponed through Christmas Day, so the NHL had a chance to analyze testing results across the league and see teams' readiness to resume play.
Teams are still set to resume practice on Dec. 26, with the target date for resumption of game play pushed back an additional day.
The NHL plans to have another update on its plans to return to play by the end of Sunday.
Nylander 13th Maple Leaf to enter protocol
In other news, Toronto forward William Nylander has entered the NHL's COVID-19 protocol. The Maple Leafs now have 13 players sidelined due to novel coronavirus concerns.
Nylander joins a growing list of Leafs in the league's protocol. They include captain John Tavares, defenceman Morgan Rielly and goaltender Jack Campbell.
The NHL shut down for its annual Christmas break 48 hours early after Tuesday night's lone remaining game.
Four contests originally scheduled for Wednesday and 15 for Thursday are among the 45 postponed since Dec. 13.
Everton-Burnley called off
In soccer news, a coronavirus outbreak at Everton has forced the postponement of the club's match at Burnley, the Premier League said on Friday.
It's the third match of the Boxing Day lineup to be postponed as part of a Sunday program that still features six games. Defending champion and league leader Manchester City hosts 2016 winner Leicester among the six games scheduled to go ahead Sunday.
The Premier League has now called off 13 matches because of coronavirus issues in two weeks, with players having to isolate after testing positive or if they are unvaccinated and a close contact of a COVID-19 case.
Everton had asked for the postponement, citing virus cases and injuries, and the league's board "regrettably approved" the request.
"The board reviewed the club's request today to postpone the match following further injuries to their squad. They concluded that the club will not be able to fulfil their fixture this weekend as a result of an insufficient number of players available to play due to COVD-19 cases and injuries," the league said in a statement.
On Thursday, coronavirus outbreaks at Leeds and Watford forced postponements of their Sunday matches. Leeds was scheduled to travel to Liverpool and Watford was set to play at Wolverhampton.
With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press