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Vancouver sports franchises hit by cancellations amid coronavirus fears

Canucks, Whitecaps, Warriors will be out of action indefinitely
game over
The NHL, NBA and Major League Soccer all announced season suspensions due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. File photo Dan Toulgoet

It’s officially game over.

The NHL season is suspended until further notice.

The news comes less than 24 hours after the NBA suspended its season on account of one its players contracting the coronavirus.  

“In light of ongoing developments resulting from the coronavirus, and after consulting with medical experts and convening a conference call of the Board of Governors, the National Hockey League is announcing today that it will pause the 2019‑20 season beginning with tonight’s games,” the NHL said in a statement.

According to Pass it to Bulis co-founder Daniel Wagner, the NHL has reportedly inquired with teams about their arenas being available through July, suggesting that they intend to reschedule the season rather than cancel it outright.

Extending the season through July would buy the league over a month of time to complete the regular season, longer if they simply move directly to the playoffs. For the season to be picked up again, a lot would have to go right in the handling of the coronavirus pandemic; it's still possible that games could be played in front of empty arenas if and when the season starts up again.

Virtually every sporting league and institution across the continent is following suit. New cancellations were being announced by the minute on Thursday morning.

Major League Soccer is suspending play for at least 30 days, which means no Whitecaps games until mid April at least.

Ditto for the National Lacrosse League, which has suspended its season. No timeline was given for if or when play will resume for the Vancouver Warriors.

The Western Hockey League was mulling its options as of Thursday morning.

The Courier has contacted the University of British Columbia to see how its sports programs will be affected and is awaiting comment.

The BC Lions announced that the club’s free agent camps in the U.S., school visits and other community outreach programs will be cancelled.

The Dance Team auditions scheduled for March 22 have been postponed, along with the Orange Helmet Awards that were originally slated for March 20.

Major League Baseball has suspended spring-training games and delayed the start of regular season by at least two weeks.

The annual NCAA basketball tournament known as March Madness is on the precipice of cancellation as teams voluntarily withdraw from a tournament that was supposed to be played without fans.

— this story has been updated since first published

— with files from Daniel Wagner/Vancouver Is Awesome