Coronavirus has halted professional sports in Portland.

The NBA G League, which includes the Maine Red Claws, and the ECHL, which includes the Maine Mariners hockey team, suspended their 2019-20 seasons on Thursday in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition, Minor League Baseball announced the start of its season will be delayed. The Portland Sea Dogs, a Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, were scheduled to start their season on April 9.

The minor league decisions followed announcements by the major leagues in each sport to stop playing games immediately.

The NBA on Wednesday night announced the suspension of its season “until further notice” after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus. The team is owned by the Boston Celtics and some Red Claws players have spent time this winter with the Celtics.

The Jazz played in Boston last Friday, leading to concern that some players might have been exposed to the virus. In a club statement, the Red Claws said they have been working closely with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and that the Maine CDC has “determined that no Red Claws players, staff nor game attendees face any significant risk from the case involving the Utah players.”

The Red Claws had been scheduled to play eight more games in March, including four games in Portland.

Portland City Manager Jon Jennings, the former president of the Red Claws, supported the suspension of the G League season.

“I think it’s an incredibly responsible position the NBA and G League has taken in shutting the season down,” Jennings said. “I’m sure they will continue to reassess the circumstances around the COVID-19 virus.”

A decision on whether G League players will stay in the Portland area in hopes of resuming the season is expected to come Friday, said team spokesperson Evans Boston.

The NHL suspended its season on Thursday, stating that it hopes to be able to continue games later. The Mariners had 10 games remaining through April 5, with three home contests. Mirroring the NHL’s stance that the season could resume, the Mariners are asking fans to hold onto their tickets as the club tries to determine plans to reschedule events.

“There will be no practices but we are telling the players to stay in the Portland area,” said Adam Goldberg, the Mariners’ vice president of business operations.

Goldberg said the no-practice decision came from the ECHL to limit close contact between players. Goldberg said none of the Mariners or the team staff has shown any symptoms of being infected. He also said the league will continue to communicate about future plans, recognizing that the coronavirus is causing changes to the sports landscape at a rapid rate.

“Think about how much things have changed just in the last 36 hours,” Goldberg said. “We’re going to approach this with an abundance of caution to put a pause on everything until we have a firm, long-term plan.”

The Sea Dogs were to open their season on the road, with their home opener scheduled for April 16 against Trenton. A news release from the team said tickets for any game impacted by the delay would be eligible for a refund.

“The safety and health of our employees, fans and players is always our top priority,” said Sea Dogs President and GM Geoff Iacuessa in a news release. “We remain optimistic we will have games this season and will keep fans posted.”

In Lewiston, Saturday’s Lewsiton/Auburn Nordiques’ NA3HL junior hockey league playoff game scheduled for Saturday at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee has been postponed until further notice. The NA3HL has paused its season.


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