Sport-Surge in COVID-19 cases hammer North American sport

FILE PHOTO: Dec 7, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; A free COVID-19 test site is set up before the game between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

December 30, 2021

(Reuters) – The National Basketball Association and National Hockey League were both forced to postpone games on Thursday, as the COVID-19 surge continued to wreak havoc on sport schedules.

The Golden State Warriors’ contest at Denver on Thursday was postponed after the Nuggets, who have been hit by a COVID-19 outbreak in the locker room, could not field the required minimum eight players, said the NBA.

A total of 11 NBA games have now been postponed since Dec. 14.

Also on Thursday, the NHL said that due to COVID-19-related issues impacting the Dallas Stars, the team’s Jan. 2 game at the Arizona Coyotes has been postponed.

The NHL has postponed more than 80 games this month amid the avalanche of COVID-19 cases.

The postponements come on heels of the International Ice Hockey Federation’s decision to halt the junior world championships being played in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta after players on several teams produced positive tests for the virus.

In an effort to avoid a similar shutdown, Skate Canada announced that the Jan. 6-13 Canadian National Figure Skating championships, which will determine spots on the Beijing Olympic team, will be staged in Ottawa without any spectators.

“We understand this is disappointing for our fans and stakeholders,” said Skate Canada president Karen Butcher and CEO Debra Armstrong in a joint statement on Thursday.

“However, our priority is to preserve the competitions necessary for the selection of teams for the Olympic Winter Games and ISU championship events.”

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, additional reporting Rory Carroll in San Francisco; editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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