Following the joint statement from the MLB, NBA, MLS and NHL on Monday, the Chicago Blackhawks and Rockford IceHogs are taking procedures to combat the spread of the Coronavirus. Teams will be limiting locker room access to media and non-essential personnel.
On Tuesday, the Blackhawks held practice as usual, but the post-practice locker room access was changed to a podium-style press conference for players and coaches with media members kept at least six feet away.
Dylan Strome making his lectern debut: "This is new. Feels like I just got traded." pic.twitter.com/u1NggjcplM
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) March 10, 2020
It will take both the team and media members some time to get used to the new, temporary measures. The limit of access to the locker room is nothing new for the media covering the Rockford IceHogs. The typical procedure for most of the AHL involves having coaches and players brought to a backdrop outside of the locker room with media scrums happening there. On Tuesday, the IceHogs canceled their sponsored “Hog Talk” event along with all other team-related community events.
UPDATE: In response to the NHL’s updated media policy and reflecting procedures established by the Chicago Blackhawks, tonight's IceHogs Bud Light Hog Talk and other team-related community events have been cancelled. https://t.co/jMOo3TvyO9
— Rockford IceHogs (@goicehogs) March 10, 2020
The hope is these measures will be temporary and will not escalate in North America the way they have in European countries like Switzerland and Italy, where hockey and soccer leagues have canceled or postponed all games and events until further developments are available.
In San Jose, the Sharks and Barracuda will adhere to a Santa Clara County ban on all mass gatherings through the end of March. The teams and leagues are working on the options for the three home games on the schedule for the Sharks (March 19, 21 and 29) and the Barracuda (March 17 and 22). Playing the games with the arena closed off to the fans, postponing the games or playing them at a neutral site are all options on the table while the ban is in action.
For now, the Blackhawks and IceHogs will hold games at the United Center and BMO Harris Bank Center as normal, with only locker room access changes being made.