Hey, friends. It’s hockey season, but in a Wuhan Virus year, you know that means it ain’t going to be normal.
This season is an abbreviated one, with only 56 games in 116 days or so. There are normally 82 games plus post-season games for the teams that qualify. It’s much shorter this season, but at least we’re getting a season.
Since several players on the Dallas Stars (my home team) had acquired WuVi right before the start of the season, they had their first four games postponed. Even now, many games and a couple of weeks into the season, there are teams across the league that are having chunks of games postponed due to Wuhan Virus outbreaks among the coaching staff and/or players.
Also, the divisions have been changed for this season. Each team will only play teams within their own division, to limit the spread and contact of the illness we all wish would disappear from the face of the planet. The Central Division, which the Stars are still in, now consists of opponents Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, and Tampa Bay Lightning. Only a few of these are typical divisional rivals for us (Nashville especially, considering our January 1, 2020 Winter Classic showdown, which the Stars won 4-2, in comeback fashion). Since many of the above teams are in other divisions and even a different conference (Eastern to the Stars’ Western Conference) in normal seasons, the Stars don’t usually face them but a couple of times a season. This year, they’ll be getting to know them quite well.
Some teams (including the Stars) allow a very limited number of fans into the stadiums for home games (making sure, as best they can, that the fans wear masks and “social distance”), while others are still not permitting fans into the buildings.
This season looks different than any other hockey season I’ve ever seen, and I’ve watched for probably a full decade or so now. It looks different than probably any other season before or after it (last year was weird and different in its own right, thanks to the WuVi shutdown). I’m hoping next season brings around more normalcy, but it’s yet to be known how many of the current restrictions will remain in place once WuVi is finally not an issue any longer. My hockey game attending days might be over (because I refuse to wear a mask or take an experimental vaccine to watch a sport), but I am still enjoying the games on television.
What Wuhan Virus-related changes have you experienced in your entertainment?