A player on the Ottawa Senators has tested positive for the coronavirus, the club said in a statement late Tuesday, the first NHL player known to have tested positive for the virus. The Senators did not identify the player.
The Senators played the Ducks on March 10 at Honda Center in Anaheim and played the Kings the next night at Staples Center.
“The player has had mild symptoms and is in isolation,” the Senators’ statement said. “The Ottawa Senators are in the process of notifying anyone who has had known close contact with the athlete and are working with our team doctors and public health officials. As a result of this positive case, all members of the Ottawa Senators are requested to remain isolated, to monitor their health and seek advice from our team medical staff.”
The Senators played the Kings a day after the Lakers faced the Brooklyn Nets, who on Tuesday confirmed that four of their players had tested positive for the virus. The Nets used Staples Center’s visiting NBA locker room, which was used by the Kings last Wednesday to hold postgame news conferences.
Mike Altieri, senior vice president marketing, communications and content for AEG Sports and the Kings, said the Kings will contact team, staff or media who were in close proximity to the Nets’ locker room on March 10, “and ensure that they closely monitor how they feel in the coming days.” He also said no one in the Kings’ organization had come forward with symptoms resembling those consistent with the coronavirus.
Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada was the first to report the Senators player’s positive test.
The NHL put its season on hold last Thursday. Commissioner Gary Bettman has said he had hoped his league could continue competition and that NHL had made plans for games to be staged without spectators, but news that Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz had tested positive — and the dramatic move by the NBA to suspend its season last Wednesday — left Bettman no choice but to “pause” the NHL season.
Bettman said because many NHL and NBA teams share arenas he believed it was inevitable that an NHL player would test positive if play continued. The NHL has told players to self-quarantine at least through March 27 and to report any symptoms to club medical personnel. Players are not permitted to work out in club facilities.
Bettman said last Friday he was hopeful the league could “complete the season and get through the playoffs and award the Stanley Cup,” and on Monday the league outlined a possible opening of training camps in late April with play to begin in early May. Tuesday’s news probably would delay that timetable.