On a day when bad news from Major League Baseball raised questions about how a sports league can operate outside a bubble, a sports league planning to finish its season inside two bubbles announced good news.
The NHL, which is sending teams to bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton to finish their seasons, announced that it has administered more than 4,000 tests over the last week and not had a single positive COVID-19 result.
“The NHL conducted Phase 3 (formal training camp) of its Return to Play on Saturday with no positive test results for COVID-19 among the 4,256 tests administered to more than 800 players during the period from July 18-25,” the league said in a statement. “During the two-week period of Phase 3 there were a total of two positive tests (both occurred during the period from July 13-17) among the 6,874 total tests. All 24 teams entered the secure zone in Edmonton and Toronto yesterday for the beginning of Phase 4 and each of the 52 members of the 24 teams (Players and Club staff) will be tested on a daily basis. The NHL will continue to provide regular updates on the number of tests administered to players and the results of those tests. The league will not be providing information on the identity of the players or clubs.”
The NBA and NHL appear to be better-positioned to finish their seasons successfully because they will be playing in enclosed “bubbles” that prevent contact with the outside world. The NFL, like MLB, will have no such bubble, and the cancelation of two MLB games today over COVID-19 tests has to be raising concerns within the NFL about whether the season can proceed as scheduled.