Fans pack Climate Pledge Arena prior to a game between the Seattle Kraken and the Vancouver Canucks on October 23 in Seattle.
CNN  — 

Because of Covid-19 issues, the National Hockey League and NHL Players Association have announced updated plans and now will pause operations leaguewide beginning Wednesday and lasting through Christmas, with team facilities reopening December 26.

The two Tuesday games that have remained on the schedule – the Washington Capitals at the Philadelphia Flyers and the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Vegas Golden Knights – are still on as planned. All four of Wednesday’s games had already been postponed before the league and union opted to suspend operations. Ten of 15 games Thursday had already been postponed.

Games are scheduled to resume December 27.

With Monday night’s announcement, there now have been 49 games postponed, 44 of them since December 13.

On Sunday, the NHL and NHLPA had announced the regular-season schedule would continue but that effective Monday all games involving cross-border travel between the US and Canada would be postponed through Thursday.

Several professional leagues and university sports programs have been forced to change their game plan in the face of positive tests or coronavirus exposure.

The cancellations and postponements are the latest disruption due to the increased spread of Covid-19 in the US.

The full release from the NHL and NHLPA is as follows:

“With no games currently scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 22, because of COVID-related postponements, the National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players’ Association have agreed to postpone the five games that remain scheduled on Thursday, Dec. 23, in order to begin the collectively-bargained Holiday Break effective with the conclusion of games tomorrow night, Dec. 21.

“Under the revised schedule, Dec. 22, Dec. 23, Dec. 24 and Dec. 25 (Christmas Day) shall be off days for all purposes – including travel.

“Players will report back to their Clubs on Dec. 26, which shall be used for testing, practice and/or travel only. Upon return from the Holiday Break to team facilities, no individual in the team’s Traveling Party shall enter the facility (other than for testing purposes) until they have a negative test result. Any practice scheduled for Dec. 26 must begin after 2:00 p.m. local time.

“The League’s regular-season schedule will resume on Monday, Dec. 27.”