Ice hockey: Riveters withdraw from NWHL season after positive tests

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(Reuters) - The Metropolitan Riveters have pulled out of the National Women's Hockey League season being held in Lake Placid, New York, after several members of the club tested positive for COVID-19, the league said on Thursday.

The decision to withdraw the Riveters was in keeping with the medical protocols that were established for the two-week event that will conclude with the Isobel Cup Final on Feb. 5, the NWHL said in a news release.

"Our team is heartbroken to not have the chance to compete for the Isobel Cup, but we are aligned with the League in prioritizing the well-being of all of the players and staff," said Riveters head coach Ivo Mocek.

"We wish the best to our respected opponents, and I assure you that the Metropolitan Riveters will be back to compete again in Season 7 for our fans and all of our amazing supporters."

The season will move forward with five teams but the NWHL said that out of an abundance of caution it decided to postpone games scheduled for Thursday and will resume play on Saturday.

Teams had arrived separately in Lake Placid in a staggered schedule last week. Each team was scheduled to play five games followed by a playoff round to determine the four teams that advance to the Isobel Cup semi-finals.

When the NWHL announced plans last November to hold its season in Lake Placid, it said the goal of the season is to play in a protective environment that prioritizes the health and safety of the players, staff, and surrounding community.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)