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Hockey

NHL recommends players limit contact with fans over coronavirus concerns

Montreal’s Phillip Danault passes a puck sitting on his stick through a hole in the glass to a young fan.
Montreal’s Phillip Danault hands over a puck to a young fan through a photographer’s shooting location during a game Jan. 6, 2020. The NHL has recommended players limit contact with fans.
(Minas Panagiotakis / Getty Images)

The NHL has sent a memo to teams advising them to tell players to currently limit close interaction with fans in response to concerns about the coronavirus.

Measures suggested to protect players and fans include avoiding handshakes with fans, close contact and accepting autographed items. The NBA earlier this week issued a similar memo to its teams and advised players to shun high-fiving fans and to instead offer a fist-bump.

The San Jose Sharks on Thursday played before a season-low crowd announced at 14,517 after the Santa Clara County Public Health Department recommended “postponing or canceling mass gatherings and large community events where large numbers of people are within arm’s length of one another.” The NHL announces tickets distributed as the attendance figure at each game.

Sharks Sports & Entertainment, in a statement posted on the team’s website just past noon Friday, said an American Hockey League game involving the San Jose Barracuda on Friday night would be played as scheduled. The company also said Thursday it would continue to evaluate future events.

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Sporting events around the world have either been canceled, postponed, or played without spectators because of the coronavirus outbreak.


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