(WCMH) — The NHL and the players’ union announced it is going to continue moving forward with playing a full 82-game regular season despite an increase in positive COVID-19 cases, while both sides continue discussing NHL players taking part in the 2022 Winter Olympics.

In a statement released Sunday afternoon, the NHL and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) said that even though there has been a spike in positive COVID-19 tests among players, coaches, and staff, “there have been a low number of positive cases that have resulted in concerning symptoms or serious illness.”

The statement goes on to state that with “virtually all” players and hockey staff fully vaccinated, the need to temporarily shut down individual teams will continue to be made on a case-by-case basis.

The league and the union agreed to daily testing and other protocols to help slow the spread of the virus. The protocols begin immediately and will last through at least Jan. 1, with an evaluation no later than Jan. 7.

In addition, the league announced it is postponing all games involving Canadian teams playing U.S. teams from Monday through the holiday break, which starts Dec. 23.

Those games are:

  • Monday, Dec. 20: Montreal @ NY Islanders; Anaheim @ Edmonton
  • Tuesday, Dec. 21: St. Louis @ Ottawa; Vancouver @ San Jose
  • Wednesday, Dec. 22: Montreal @ NY Rangers; Winnipeg @ Dallas; Edmonton @ Los Angeles
  • Thursday, Dec. 23: St. Louis @ Toronto; Carolina @ Ottawa; Montreal @ New Jersey; Anaheim @ Vancouver; Edmonton @ San Jose

So far this season, 27 games have been postponed due to COVID-19.

The statement also updates NHL players’ status for the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, stating the union and the league are continuing to discuss the matter with an announcement of a final decision made in the coming days.

As of Sunday afternoon, six NHL teams — Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers, and Detroit Red Wings — have had all their games postponed through at least next weekend.

The Columbus Blue Jackets said Sunday morning it placed three players in COVID-19 protocols and canceled practice.

Columbus had its Saturday game postponed against the Calgary Flames due to cases in the Calgary camp. The Jackets are still scheduled to play the Buffalo Sabres on Monday at 7:00 p.m.