It all started with a throwaway comment made by National Hockey League analyst Pierre McGuire during the broadcast of an NHL game earlier in the week.
The Detroit Red Wings were facing off against the Buffalo Sabres this week when Sabres forward Jimmy Vesey broke his stick, prompting a rather strange comment to come from McGuire's lips. The veteran NHL analyst let it be known that team's around the National Hockey League have been experiencing a shortage of sticks for their players, and shockingly it is directly related to the coronavirus outbreak in China.
"We were talking to equipment managers today and, because of the coronavirus, there's shortage of sticks in the National Hockey League," said McGuire as per NBC.
On its surface it sounded like a rather ridiculous claim on the part of McGuire, after all why would a sudden disease outbreak in China impact what sticks players can and cannot get? However it now sounds like the claim made by McGuire during the NBC broadcast was in fact a correct one, and it sounds like there is some solid reasoning behind it as well. For one a lot of players use custom sticks which have to be specially made for them and when you consider that both Bauer and CCM, arguably the two biggest apparel brands in hockey, both have their products produced in China, well this suddenly becomes a much more realistic problem.
It sounds like due to the outbreak of the coronavirus in China work in those factories has either been suspended entirely or has come grinding to halt for a different reason. Either way it sounds like it will be extremely difficult to get any kind of custom sticks sent over for a while, the coronavirus outbreak only seems to be growing. What that might mean for the players who rely on those sticks moving forward remains a mystery at this time, but it will be very interesting to see if some of the NHL players on the ice are better at adapting to a difficult situation that some of their other peers.
No word yet on when this shortage may start having a noticeable impact on teams around the league.