The National Hockey League on Tuesday announced a “Return To Play Plan” that will allow the top 24 teams to compete in a postseason tournament after a postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but will end the San Jose Sharks’ season since they were not among the top 24.
The NHL paused its season on March 12 because of concerns about the coronavirus, and has now declared the 2019-20 season effectively over at that point, with the owners and players agreeing on a 24-team postseason to be played at two hub cities later this summer.
The Sharks had made it to the NHL Western Conference Finals in the 2019 postseason, and had been a playoff team in all but one season since 2005, but their most recent season was more disappointing, finishing the abbreviated schedule with a record of 29-36-5.
Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said:
“While we are disappointed that the San Jose Sharks will not be able to complete our 2019-20 season, we understand and respect the decision.”
Team president Jonathan Becher said the Sharks have been working with ticket holders in recent weeks to provide credits or refunds, and that process will accelerate now that the remaining games have officially been canceled.