Due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainty it has brought to this season and next, the Boston Bruins will not open their 2020-21 season in Prague. The NHL and NHLPA announced in a joint statement Friday that they have postponed their 2020 International Games.
“The National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players’ Association today announced the postponement of its 2020 international games. The NHLPA and the NHL remain committed to maintaining and growing our international presence. We hope that our fans overseas understand the need to postpone the 2020 games, but we look forward to being back with them in 2021.”
Just as they did to start their 2010-11 season that culminated in their first Stanley Cup in 39 years when they split a two-game set with the Arizona Coyotes, the Bruins were set to kick things off in Prague against the Nashville Predators in early October. The NHL was also scheduled to hold two more NHL games in Europe later in the season with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Colorado Avalanche playing a two-game set.
This announcement didn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Last month, in a virtual reunion of that team that began their Cup journey in Prague ten years ago, numerous Bruins players and alums expressed their doubt there would be any kind of déjà vu next season at least from where the team begins their season.
“Yeah, that’s not happening,” Czech Republic native and Bruins forward David Krejci said.
As of now, there isn’t even a confirmed return to play for the 2019-20 regular season and/or Stanley Cup playoffs or the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Just a week ago, with the NHL Board Of Governors slated to meet this past Monday to discuss all of those topics, with a focus on the draft, it appeared a June 5 draft with new rules and draft order would be approved and hopefully, a plan for a return to the ice would be closer. As of Friday morning though, no decision had been made but the general feel around the league was that some sort of concrete plan could be announced later in the day or by next week.
After the NHL approved phase two of their return to play plan earlier in the week, allowing players to start to return and if permitted by local government, use their team training facilities under strict social distancing guidelines, the Ontario government allowed professional sports teams to do just that should they choose to.