NHL suspends cross-border travel until after Christmas

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NHL suspends cross-border travel until after Christmas originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The NHL has suspended any games involving cross-border travel between the United States and Canada until after the Christmas break, according to a league announcement on Sunday. 

This news impacts 12 games that would have taken place between Dec. 20 and Dec. 23 involving Canadian-based and U.S.-based teams. The decision came from concern over "the fluid nature of federal travel restrictions." 

The following games will be affected by the cross-border travel stoppage:

Dec. 20: Montreal Canadiens at New York Islanders

Dec. 20: Anaheim Ducks at Edmonton Oilers

Dec. 21: St. Louis Blues at Ottawa Senators

Dec. 21: Vancouver Canucks at San Jose Sharks

Dec. 22: Montreal Canadiens at New York Rangers

Dec. 22: Winnipeg Jets at Dallas Stars

Dec. 22: Edmonton Oilers at Los Angeles Kings

Dec. 23: St. Louis Blues at Toronto Maple Leafs

Dec. 23: Carolina Hurricanes at Ottawa Senators

Dec. 23: Montreal Canadiens at New Jersey Devils

Dec. 23: Anaheim Ducks at Vancouver Canucks

Dec. 23: Edmonton Oilers at San Jose Sharks

No makeup dates for the postponed games were immediately provided. 

The NHL already had previously postponed 27 games due to COVID in the 2021-22 season. 

Despite the rising cases of COVID throughout the league, the NHL will carry on with the season and "the need to temporarily shut down individual teams should continue to be made on a case-by-case basis." 

There are five teams -- the Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers, and Nashville Predators -- whose seasons have been paused through Dec. 26, the last day of the league's holiday break. Calgary has the most significant outbreak of any team with 19 players and 13 staff members in COVID protocol, leading to six game postponements.

The NHL recently implemented enhanced COVID protocols, which include restrictions on indoor dining for teams on the road, wearing masks and social distancing in team facilities and testing on non-off days, until at least Jan 7.

Participation at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing remains in question and the NHL will be making a final determination on sending its players to the Olympics in the coming days. However, according to reports, it is "highly unlikely" players will be playing in Beijing.

The league has until Jan. 10 to opt out of Olympic participation without facing any financial penalties.