'Some things are bigger than the game': Edmonton Oilers react to NHL's 'pause' decision

Hours after the National Hockey League put its season on hold Thursday, the Edmonton Oilers issued a statement thanking fans for their understanding during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We fully support the decision of the NHL to pause the 2019-20 season,” Oilers chairman Bob Nicholson said in a news release.

“We want to get back to playing games as soon as possible, but this decision is in the best interest of our fans, employees and players. Our focus is on their health and safety and doing what we can to combat the spread of the virus.

“Some things are bigger than the game of hockey.”

Team captain Connor McDavid said players are looking forward to when they can play in front of fans again.

“Public health and safety are a priority at a time like this,” McDavid said in the news release. “As players, we support the NHL and NHLPA’s decision to suspend the season for the safety of the teams and their fans.”

Earlier Thursday, the NHL issued a directive to pause the season, starting with Thursday night’s scheduled games, after consulting with medical experts and holding a conference call with the board of governors.

The statement said the Oilers will communicate with ticket holders and other affected parties with more information when it becomes available.

“We will continue to follow protocols as laid out by the NHL and will continue to work in close consultation with health and government officials.”

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