NHL halts workouts as club owners talk about coronavirus

NHL players and fans, such as the young one holding up a sign in Dallas before a game, awaited word from the league on its plans in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States and Canada

National Hockey League clubs were advised by the league on Thursday to avoid conducting morning workouts as team owners were set to discuss their next steps regarding the spreading coronavirus outbreak.

League officials were pondering what to do in the wake of the NBA deciding Wednesday to shut down its season in the wake of a player testing positive for the coronavirus.

"Given the uncertainty regarding next steps regarding the coronavirus, clubs are advised not to conduct morning skates, practices or team meetings today," the NHL tweeted on Thursday.

Ten NHL games are scheduled for Thursday, including Pittsburgh at Columbus, which is set to be the first major US professional sports event to be played in an empty arena.

Ohio governor Mike DeWine asked for a ban on mass gatherings in his state but the Blue Jackets made plans to play in front of supporters anyway until DeWine vowed to issue a ban order, prompting the club to schedule the game for an empty facility.

Some NHL and NBA teams share the same arenas and some of the same facilities within the venues.

Just over three weeks remain in the 2019-20 NHL regular season with the playoffs set to begin in early April.

NHL players and fans, such as the young one holding up a sign in Dallas before a game, awaited word from the league on its plans in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States and Canada