The National Hockey League announced Monday that its regular season would pause Wednesday, two days ahead of its scheduled Christmas break.
All organization facilities will cease operations Wednesday through Saturday in an attempt by the NHL to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 throughout the league.
The players will return to their organizations Sunday for regular testing, and games will resume Monday.
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The early pause left six teams to play before the break, and it has supposedly been a very difficult week for the league, according to a report.
At least 11 teams had to cease operations, all cross-border games were postponed, and roughly 15% of all players had to submit to COVID-19 protocols on Monday, the report noted.
These protocols include daily testing, social distancing, and restrictions about where the athletes can go when not at home, the rink, or a hotel, according to the report.
In total, 49 games have been postponed this season, which the league reportedly considers material damages, and that could lead the NHL not to allow its players to compete in the Beijing Olympics.
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Tyler Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings remains the only unvaccinated player in the NHL, and league officials, while not having a mandate, recommend that all players get their booster shots.