UPDATE: At least one player on the Connecticut Whale has tested positive for COVID-19. As per our own Armand Klisivitch, that player, now in isolation, is believed to be among Connecticut’s forward group. That player was reportedly scratched before Wednesday’s game against the Boston Pride.
With matchups postponed until Saturday and Friday already a scheduled recovery day, Matt Porter of the Boston Globe reports that added testing will be conducted before resumption. Connecticut squares off against Toronto at 12:00pmET on Saturday afternoon. At the time of writing, the NWHL was receiving all test results from Yale Pathology Labs.
In an unfortunate turn of events, the Metropolitan Riveters have made the decision to pull out of the tournament in Lake Placid, New York. As per ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski, the team has opted to withdraw from the two-week event due to COVID-19 “health and safety concerns.”
An official announcement from the league was made Thursday afternoon to address the situation. The news comes just one day after the team was forced to pull out from their game against the Buffalo Beauts, with the Toronto Six replacing them.
Unable to play in their scheduled time slot, the game was rescheduled for Thursday, which would be the third matchup for the Riveters this season. Addressing the sudden change, the NWHL said that the call to not play was “made in line with the NWHL’s medical protocols prioritizing the health and safety of all participants during this season in Lake Placid.”
With sources confirming to Dan Rice that the team will not play any further this season, Greg Wyshynski reported that the team has a choice; to remain in the bubble or to leave entirely. As the tournament is set to go onwards, both of Thursday’s games were postponed out of an abundance of caution for players, coaches and executives.
That includes the Connecticut Whale, who were set to square off against the Minnesota Whitecaps. The remaining five teams will continue in a round-robin format before the Isobel Cup Playoffs. Play resumes Saturday at 3:00, as Connecticut instead faces the Toronto Six. That meeting will be Sunday at 6:00pmET.
As several team members tested positive, the Metropolitan Riveters and health officials have collaborated to bring every member of the team home in a way that ensures the safety of all parties.
In a statement from Ivo Mocek, head coach of the Metropolitan Riveters, he said of the challenging ordeal, “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. 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.”
As for team captain Madison Packer, she took to Twitter, saying shortly thereafter, “We’ll be back.” With the round-robin starting to wind down, the semifinals begin February 4th, while the Isobel Cup Final will take place on the 5th. While all the action is being carried on Twitch.tv/NWHL, the two-day playoffs will be aired exclusively in the United States on NBCSN. Additionally, streams and coverage will be available on the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com.
It’ll mark the first time that women’s pro hockey is carried live in the U.S. on a national cable network. A stellar broadcast crew will have the call nationwide.