The Florida Panthers were supposed to open their 2021 NHL season Thursday night but due to eight members of the Dallas Stars testing positive for COVID-19, that two-game series has been postponed.
According to the NHL, the Stars had six players and two staff members test positive.
The team’s facilities will be closed and the Stars will not be able to start their season until Jan. 19 at the earliest.
The Panthers and Stars were supposed to play a pair of games to kick off the season both in Sunrise on Thursday and Friday.
Friday afternoon, the Panthers acknowledged the two games would be postponed and said ticketholders to those games will be able to attend when the games are rescheduled.
The Panthers’ season-opener will be Sunday, Jan. 17 against the Chicago Blackhawks at 7 p.m.
“As a result of the positive tests, and as an appropriate precaution, the team’s training facilities have been closed, effective immediately, and will remain closed for several days while further daily testing and contact tracing is conducted,” the league wrote in a statement on Friday.
”The league is in the process of reviewing and revising the Stars’ regular season schedule with the expectation that the team will not open its 2020-21 season earlier than Tuesday, January 19.”
Ironically, the last time the Panthers and Stars were scheduled to play was also affected by the coronavirus.
Florida was in Dallas to play at AmericanAirlines Center on March 12 when the NHL put a halt to its season. The regular season was eventually cancelled.
The Panthers currently have five players on the “unfit to play” list but it appears they have not tested positive for COVID-19 or the league would have shut things down.
Florida opened its 2021 training camp on Monday and Sergei Bobrovsky, Patric Hornqvist, Markus Nutivaara and Juho Lammikko have yet to practice.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) January 8, 2021
Scott Darling is currently out while both Sam Montembeault and Chase Priskie missed time but have since returned.
The Panthers put single-game tickets — including for the two games against Dallas — on sale to the general public Friday morning.