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NHL to suspend 2020 season amid COVID-19 concerns

The playoffs were scheduled to begin in April.

The Dallas Stars were scheduled to play a game Thursday night at the American Airlines Center. But not anymore.

That game, and all other NHL games scheduled for Thursday, will not be played, as the league has announced they will suspend their season and follow the lead of the NBA and MLS.

RELATED: Major League Soccer suspends season for 30 days

RELATED: NBA suspending season over coronavirus concerns

Concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic have necessitated cancellations and postponements all around the sports world. 

College basketball tournaments have been canceled all around the country. 

RELATED: Big Ten, SEC, ACC, other conferences cancel men's basketball tournaments

The NBA now has two players who have tested positive for COVID-19, according to reports. 

And now hockey has followed the lead of other leagues and organizations, suspending play to help curtail the spread of the new coronavirus.

The Stars have just 13 games remaining in their regular season, and sit in third place in the Western Conference's Central Division.  The playoffs were scheduled to begin in April.  

Officials with the Stars say they will now work with the fans who had already purchased tickets for affected games, beginning with Thursday night's scheduled match. 

"As the situation develops, the Stars will email updates directly to Victory Club Members, ticket plan holders and group buyers with pertinent information," a news release said. "Fans with single game tickets purchased through Ticketmaster for any affected games can visit https://www.ticketmaster.com/h/returns.html for policies regarding postponed and rescheduled events."

Stars president Brad Alberts said during a news conference Thursday that the team will not be practicing at this time and that they may even encourage players to refrain from traveling like the NBA.

"It's been a crazy 24 hours," Alberts said.

He said they had been preparing on Wednesday to play in front of an empty building on Thursday night, but were not entirely expecting the league suspension until the NBA decided to do so Wednesday night. 

Watch the entire news conference here.

Below is the full statement from National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman on the suspension:

“In light of ongoing developments resulting from the coronavirus, and after consulting with medical experts and convening a conference call of the Board of Governors, the National Hockey League is announcing today that it will pause the 2019‑20 season beginning with tonight’s games. 

“The NHL has been attempting to follow the mandates of health experts and local authorities, while preparing for any possible developments without taking premature or unnecessary measures. However, following last night’s news that an NBA player has tested positive for coronavirus – and given that our leagues share so many facilities and locker rooms and it now seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test positive at some point – it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time. 

“We will continue to monitor all the appropriate medical advice, and we will encourage our players and other members of the NHL community to take all reasonable precautions – including by self-quarantine, where appropriate. Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent, so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup. Until then, we thank NHL fans for your patience and hope you stay healthy.”

Read the latest here on sporting event cancellations in North Texas and across the country.

RELATED: COVID-19: What you need to know about this coronavirus outbreak

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