Prior to the start of training camp, the Dallas Stars public relations team sent local media a schedule of on-ice activities for Monday through Wednesday of this week, leading to the team’s first scheduled off-day on Thursday. Last night, they informed us that the team had scheduled practice to start at 10 AM. About 90 minutes before they were set to take the ice in the 10-day training camp, it was announced that the Stars had cancelled practice.
No reason was given, and no media availability will be held today. That falls in line with the NHL’s protocols regarding COVID-19 positive cases in the midst of the current pandemic. Any communications regarding positive cases around the league will come from the NHL itself, with one announcement at the end of the training camp period that will aggregate the number of positives observed without disclosing any player names or team names.
However, The Athletic’s Saad Yousef confirmed what most assume when an entire team abruptly cancels a scheduled practice at this time in the season: it’s COVID-19 related.
It would be irresponsible to speculate on how a positive case came to be in the locker room, especially considering the spike in cases currently ongoing across the country (and in Texas in particular) and the first reports of the more virulent strain of the virus in Texas just this week. Dallas reported nearly 2,600 new cases yesterday amid reports that only 17 adult ICU beds were vacant in the entire county as of this morning.
Dallas is supposed to open the season next Thursday against the Florida Panthers in Sunrise. Florida and Dallas are two of the four NHL teams that are expected to open the season with some fans in attendance (in addition to the Tampa Bay Lightning, whom the Stars also play on their opening road trip) and the Arizona Coyotes (who are in another division this season).
There’s no telling how long the Stars will remain off the ice. Stay tuned for further developments.