Initial test results show that no Mainers have tested positive for the coronavirus as of 1 p.m. Tuesday. For the latest coronavirus news, click here.
Fears about the potential spread of the coronavirus have resulted in numerous changes and cancellations of sporting events around the world.
Those effects also are being felt here in Maine, and in New England.
Bowdoin College of Brunswick, the host for the NCAA Division III women’s basketball tournament sectional on Friday and Saturday, announced Tuesday that spectators will not be allowed. The school cited its monitoring of coronavirus developments and consulting medical providers.
The Ivy League has canceled its men’s and women’s basketball championship tournaments scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Cambridge, Massachusetts, while the NCAA Division III women’s basketball tournament regional in Amherst, Massachusetts, will be played with no fans present.
The ECAC men’s hockey quarterfinal series between Harvard and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, will be played without spectators. Middlebury College in Vermont on Tuesday suspended all spring sports activities until further notice.
This week’s events involving University of Maine teams have not yet been affected.
The Black Bear men’s hockey team hosts the University of Connecticut for a best-of-three Hockey East quarterfinal series on Friday, Saturday and, if necessary, on Sunday.
The UMaine women’s basketball team leaves Wednesday for Friday’s 5 p.m. America East championship game against Stony Brook on Long Island. The Black Bears are traveling by bus to Stony Brook, New York, via Bridgeport, Connecticut, where they will take the ferry.
For the hockey series at Alfond Arena in Orono, UMaine athletics is following protocols outlined in a University of Maine system public health advisory.
“We are monitoring the situation closely and preparing and taking precautions both here and for our teams who are planning to travel,” UMaine athletics spokesman Tyson McHatten said. “There have been discussions internally related to the coronavirus outbreak but at this point, we are operating normally for our home events and following the instruction we receive from the UMaine System.”
Brian Smith, associate commissioner of Hockey East, said the league is closely monitoring the coronavirus situation but it is moving forward with the quarterfinals this weekend and the semifinals and championship game scheduled March 22-23 at TD Garden in Boston.
“The NCAA has a task force and said there is no reason we can’t play,” Smith said.
He said Hockey East is working on contingency plans in case states re-evaluate the situation and mandate changes. Smith said the league wants to ensure the safety of all fans, players, coaches and arena personnel.
One change implemented recently by Hockey East involves the postgame handshake line between teams. Players must keep their hockey gloves on and coaches will not participate. The handshakes will occur only after the last game of a series.
For UMaine basketball, Stony Brook athletics issued a news release explaining the school’s efforts to minimize potential virus spread and effects.
According to the Long Island Press, there were 20 cases of coronavirus on Long Island as of Tuesday. That included one case at Stony Brook University Hospital.
“We are aware of the precautions being taken by Stony Brook and will follow their lead in taking precautions with our travel and during competition at the America East championship game,” UMaine women’s basketball coach Amy Vachon said in a statement.
Ticket sales will be monitored to ensure fans maintain a safe distance from one another, should they desire.
Ticket sales will be discontinued at noon Friday and none will be sold at the door. Stony Brook also will provide additional cleaning staff and enhanced sanitizing procedures at the venue and will make hand sanitizers available.
A “no-handshake policy” will be encouraged.