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Coronavirus: NHL suspends cross-border games until after Christmas holiday

The NHL announced Sunday it has suspended games involving cross-border travel until after the Christmas break due to an increased outbreak of COVID-19.

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The suspension will go into effect on Monday and will last through Thursday, the league said in a news release. That will cover 12 games involving U.S. teams playing Canadian-based teams, ESPN reported.

The NHL has already postponed 27 games due to COVID-19 outbreaks, the sports network reported.

“Due to the concern about cross-border travel and, given the fluid nature of federal travel restrictions, effective on Monday, all games involving a Canadian-based team playing a U.S.-based team ... will be postponed and rescheduled,” the NHL said in a statement.

The NHL and the players’ union have been speaking over the past few days and are determined not to implement a full-schedule pause, ESPN reported.

However, the latest uptick in COVID-19 cases has put Olympic participation for NHL players in jeopardy, according to the sports network. The NHL is scheduled to take a three-week break to allow players to travel to Beijing for the Winter Games in February.

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The NHL has a Jan. 10 deadline to opt out of the Olympics without a financial penalty, ESPN reported.

“The NHL and NHLPA are actively discussing the matter of NHL Player participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, and expect to be in a position to announce a final determination in the coming days,” the NHL said in its news release.

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