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German League cancels season, won’t crown champion as a result of coronavirus outbreak

For the first time since the formation of the current top-flight German League, a champion will not be crowned. The league announced it has cancelled the post-season amid the coronavirus outbreak and the government's ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 spectators.

The German League, known otherwise as the DEL, announced Tuesday that it is cancelling the remainder of its season as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The league will not crown a champion as a result.

In a statement released Tuesday, the German League said that it is “forced to end the current season” effective immediately as a result of a ban on large events, which includes any event with more than 1,000 spectators. The announcement comes mere days after the conclusion of the regular season, as teams completed their 52nd and final games of the campaign Sunday and many clubs were preparing for the post-season. The playoffs were slated to begin Wednesday with opening-round, pre-quarterfinal contests between Grizzlys Wolfsburg and Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers and Augsburger Panther and ERC Ingolstadt.

“We are extremely sorry for all clubs, partners and especially fans all over Germany that we have to make this decision,” said DEL chief executive Gernot Tripcke, according to a translation of the announcement. “However, given the current developments, we have a duty to deal with the situation responsibly. We at DEL focus on the health of our fans, players and employees.”

According to the statement, the German League will send its top four regular season clubs to the Champions League next season, which includes EHC Red Bull Munich, Adler Mannheim, Straubing Tigers and Eisbaren Berlin.

This marks the first time in the 26-year history of the German League that the championship won’t be awarded and the first time since time since 1946 that an official champion of Germany’s top-flight league won’t be crowned.

The World Health Organization’s most recent data indicates Germany had 1,112 confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19). No deaths have been reported in the country as a result of the virus.

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