The WHL has announced some new recommendations for teams to minimize contact as the world deals with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Statement from the Western Hockey League regarding COVID-19.
— The WHL (@TheWHL) March 10, 2020
In a statement released Tuesday, the league offered the following recommendations for teams and officials:
• Eliminate handshakes between teammates, opponents, officials
• Don’t share water bottles or towels on benches or penalty box areas
• Avoid direct contact with fans, including high-fives, handshakes, and autographing of items
The league will also begin following other sports leagues in North America by limiting media availabilities to restricted areas outside team dressing rooms.
The WHL is the first of the three CHL leagues to make public recommendations in response to the growing COVID-19 crisis. The outbreak has resulted in sports leagues around the world closing arenas to fans, ending seasons early or limiting contact between teams, fans and members of the media in hopes of reducing the chances of the virus continuing to spread.
The IIHF has cancelled some upcoming tournaments, including the 2020 women’s world championship which was scheduled for late March and early April in Nova Scotia. As well, the top professional hockey leagues in Austria and Germany have cancelled the remaining games in their 2019-20 seasons, while the Swiss league has delayed the start of its playoffs.
The Toronto Star reports 78 cases of the virus have surfaced in Canada, while over 100,000 cases have surfaced worldwide.