NHL postpones all Flames, Avalanche, Panthers games until Dec. 26

Amid a rampant outbreak, three NHL teams won't see any more action until after the holidays.

The league announced on Friday that the Calgary Flames, the Colorado Avalanche and the Florida Panthers have been shut down until after the league's planned holiday break, following a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in each team.

Calgary was forced to postpone its game against Chicago on Dec. 13, and has been inactive since. Neither Colorado nor Florida missed games prior to the NHL’s announcement, but now join the Flames on the sidelines until at least Dec. 26.

Both the Avalanche and Panthers were scheduled to play their next games on Dec. 18.

“A decision on when each team’s training facilities will re-open will be made by the League and the NHLPA in the coming days,” the NHL's statement read. “The League is in the process of reviewing and revising all three teams’ regular season schedules.”

The news comes at the heels of a Flames update stating that alternate captain Mikael Backlund and another member of the club's support staff had entered health and safety protocols on Friday, bringing the team's players on the COVID list to a total of 19, along with 13 staff members.

Earlier on Friday, the NHL announced the postponement of Saturday night’s clash between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins, scheduled to take place at the Bell Centre. The Bruins have been dealing with an outbreak of their own, notably missing star forwards Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

The Canadiens hosted the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night behind closed doors, as Quebec announced the implementation of strict measures to counter the spread of COVID.

These decisions come amid another overwhelming wave of the coronavirus and the omicron variant, with professional sports leagues worldwide being forced to postpone games due to rapidly rising infection rates.

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