Julie Stevens, Associate Professor of Sport Management at Brock University, and Andrew Holman, Professor of History at Bridgewater State University, wrote a piece recently published in The Conversation contrasting the response by various professional hockey leagues to the current COVID-19 pandemic to actions taken a century earlier, when the Stanley Cup could not be awarded due to a global flu pandemic.
“If the coronavirus pandemic hadn’t upended the world of sports, the National Hockey League playoffs would be under way now and 16 teams would be fighting for the Stanley Cup.
Instead, the NHL is considering a number of different scenarios to try to save its season and avoid what happened more than a century ago when a different pandemic prevented players from hoisting the Stanley Cup in victory.
On April 1, 1919, the Stanley Cup finals were cancelled mid-series because of the flu pandemic that had ravaged the globe for about a year. Seattle’s Metropolitans, winners of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA), and the NHL champion Montréal Canadiens had already played five games of a best-of-seven series. The Stanley Cup was never awarded.
These days, hockey writers retell the peculiar story of the 1919 Stanley Cup as a curious echo of COVID-19 in our own time. In the past few weeks, the NHL and Canadian Hockey League have suspended play, the International Ice Hockey Federation has cancelled its women’s and men’s tournaments, and minor hockey programs have drawn the curtains on the season because of governments’ calls for social distancing, community solidarity and common sense.”
Continue reading the full story here.