NHL leaned on Anthony Fauci for restart guidance

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman reportedly consulted with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, while planning the league’s upcoming 24-team restart tournament, according to Sportsnet.

The report says that Bettman spoke with Fauci on “multiple occasions” during the three-month pause for guidance on the league’s ‘Return to Play’ tournament, which is set to begin with qualifying rounds on Aug. 1.

NHL medical expert Dr. Willem Meeuwisse also told ESPN what the league’s protocol would be if players were exposed to another who tests positive for the virus: “We still will do contact tracing,” he said. “If we believe the degree of exposure is high, there still may be quarantine.”

Fauci, who has been a lead member of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, has been a notable voice as several professional sports leagues attempt to carry out their respective seasons. He even threw out the first pitch of MLB’s first game of the 2020 season Thursday between the Yankees and Nationals in Washington.

After memorably suggesting in June that the NFL should enact a “bubble” format, like what the NBA, WNBA and NHL have adopted, Fauci added that it was “impossible to call” how football would be played this fall.

NHL teams are scheduled to travel to their respective hub cities, either Toronto or Edmonton, for the restart tournament this Sunday. Each team will play one exhibition game before the qualifying round series begin next Saturday.

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