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CHL, AHL pause all hockey-related activity until further notice

KELOWNA, BC - MARCH 7: Pavel Novak #11 of the Kelowna Rockets stands on the bench for the national anthem against the Lethbridge Hurricanes at Prospera Place on March 7, 2020 in Kelowna, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images )

Wednesday and Thursday saw a flurry of professional leagues around the sports world announce that they are pausing operations as a precaution against the COVID-19 pandemic, and now minor hockey leagues are joining the cause.

The Canadian Hockey League (CHL), Canada’s largest major junior hockey league which is made up of the Western Hockey League (WHL), Ontario Hockey League (OHL), and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) announced in the afternoon that all games will be paused until further notice.

“The CHL and its three regional leagues take the health and safety of our players, fans, volunteers, staff, and general public very seriously,” the league said in a tweet. “CHL President Dan MacKenzie with commissioners David Branch, Gilles Courteau, and Ron Robinson have been monitoring the situation in regards to the coronavirus (COVID-19) including what local, provincial, and federal health agencies have recommended.”

The decision to pause the balance of the 2019-20 season and all other activity was made after consultations with medical professionals, and meetings with the league executive council and regional league board of governors.

Additionally, the American Hockey League (AHL), the official minor league affiliate of the National Hockey League, followed suit from the parent league by announcing that play would be suspended until further notice.

“With the health and safety of our players, officials, staff and fans of primary importance, the American Hockey League has announced the suspension of play until further notice, effective immediately, due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic,” the league said in a statement on their website. “The AHL will continue to monitor developments and will provide updates on the 2019-20 season at the appropriate time.”

The shutdowns of these leagues—along with the NHL, ECHL, USHL, NWHL, and NAHL—mean that nearly every major hockey league in North America is now on indefinite hiatus.

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