Northeast governors extend interstate hockey ban to Jan. 31

Gov. Ned Lamont held a news conference in West Hartford to announce the launch of Connecticut's nursing home COVID-19 vaccination program Dec. 18.

Gov. Ned Lamont held a news conference in West Hartford to announce the launch of Connecticut’s nursing home COVID-19 vaccination program Dec. 18.

H John Voorhees III / Hearst Connecticut Media

The governors of the six New England states and New Jersey announced Wednesday that they have extended their suspension of interstate public and private school hockey and youth hockey through at least Jan. 31.

The announcement continues a decision they said was “due to coronavirus outbreaks associated with the conduct of interstate youth hockey activities.”

The governors first announced the ban on Nov. 12. It took effect Nov. 14 and was set to expire Thursday.

“As public health data continues to evolve, the states will reassess the need for continued restrictions on interstate sports activities,” the governors’ statement said.

Spread of the virus in and around hockey had drawn Gov. Ned Lamont’s attention in October, when he announced that around 45 infections in the state had been traced to hockey, though not necessarily to on-ice activity. The state shut down most amateur team sports on Nov. 19 for two months.

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference already had prohibited state high school teams from playing out-of-state competition in its winter season, which will not start practices before Jan. 19.

The governors’ ban continues to exempt collegiate, professional and national-team hockey activities, which can continue under their existing health and safety protocols.