Stars’ opener delayed after positive virus tests
- Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.
The Dallas Stars had six players and two staff members test positive for COVID-19, and the NHL expects the team will not open its 2020-21 season any earlier than Jan. 19.
Those who tested positive are self-isolating and following CDC and NHL protocols. The positive tests have forced the Stars to close their training facilities, and they will remain closed for several days while further daily testing and contact tracing is conducted.
Per NHL policy in the preseason, the names of those who tested positive were not released.
The NHL regular season is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, Jan. 13. Dallas, the reigning Western Conference champion, was scheduled to be on the road for the first four games of the season, playing the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning in two-game sets through Jan. 19. Their home opener is scheduled for Jan. 22 against the Nashville Predators.
Dallas is one of four NHL teams that intend to open the season with fans in attendance, with a 30% capacity cap of around 5,000 fans.
“The League is in the process of reviewing and revising the Stars’ regular season schedule with the expectation that the team will not open its 2020-21 season earlier than Tuesday, January 19. The Stars organization has, and will continue to follow, all recommended guidelines aimed at protecting the health and safety of its players, staff and community at large as set by the NHL, local, state and national agencies,” the NHL announced on Friday.
The NHL and the NHLPA anticipated the potential postponement of games in crafting the 56-game schedule for this season, building in room to make them up.
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