The National Women’s Hockey League has suspended its 2021 season after positive COVID-19 tests were recovered inside the league’s bubble set-up in Lake Placid, the league confirmed Wednesday.
The unfortunate news comes one day before the Isobel Cup Playoffs were scheduled to begin at Herb Brooks Arena.
The NWHL and the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) have agreed, due to new positive COVID-19 tests and the resulting safety concerns for the players, their respective staff & the community that the remainder of the 2021 NWHL Season in Lake Placid have been suspended.
— NWHL (@NWHL) February 3, 2021
Four teams had advanced to the playoffs, including the Toronto Six, who had been creating quite an impression in their inaugural season after skating to a 4-1-1 record. Toronto was scheduled to face the Buffalo Beauts in one semifinal, while Boston Pride and Minnesota Whitecaps had advanced on the other side of the bracket.
For the first time ever, the Isobel Cup Playoffs were scheduled to air on a major cable network with NBCSN picking up the coverage. NHL announcers John Forslund and A.J. Mleczko were scheduled to call the games, and the NHL on NBC’s Kathryn Tappen and Anson Carter were to lead studio coverage.
The NWHL’s two-week 2021 season, its sixth in history, began on Jan. 23 and was scheduled to complete on Feb. 5. Two teams, the Metropolitan Riveters and Connecticut Whale, were forced to pull out of the tournament due to COVID-19 concerns, but the positives were overshadowing the several issues the league was encountering.
Having to suspend play is extremely unfortunate and obviously interrupts the momentum that had been building, but the league has taken positive steps since descending on Lake Placid through its mix of high quality hockey and accessibility.
It’s unknown at this point if the Isobel Cup Playoffs will resume at a later date.
The league has not completed a season since 2019 due to COVID-19.
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