NHL pauses season hours before Wild-Golden Knights game at Xcel Energy Center

After cancelling their morning skate and media availability ahead of Thursday's game against Vegas scheduled at the Xcel Energy Center, the NHL announced the season would be paused effective immediately. 

The pause came after the NHL advised all teams to not conduct morning skates, practices or team meetings due to “the uncertainty regarding next steps regarding the coronavirus.”

“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," said Commissioner Gary Bettman in a statement. "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."

The statement went on to say that the league is monitoring the coronavirus, but that its 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."

Wednesday night, the NBA suspended its season and the NCAA announced no fans would be allowed at all NCAA tournament games this spring. In response, the NHL released a statement saying it was “continuing to consult with medical experts and is evaluating the options.”