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Coronavirus: Belfast Giants duo move into self-isolation as Elite League season is cancelled



All over: Belfast Giants fans have watched their last game this season

All over: Belfast Giants fans have watched their last game this season

William Cherry/Presseye

All over: Belfast Giants fans have watched their last game this season

The Belfast Telegraph can confirm that the Belfast Giants have two players currently self-isolating after exhibiting symptoms consistent with coronavirus.

It is believed to be a precautionary measure only and comes after the Elite League (EIHL) made the decision yesterday to cancel the remainder of the season after two teams revealed they had players exhibiting symptoms.

The Giants are the first side affected, while the Dundee Stars are the other, with three of their players self-isolating as precautionary measures after exhibiting similar symptoms earlier in the week.

The remainder of the EIHL season, which was due to finish on April 12 with the Grand Final in Nottingham, was cancelled after clubs met yesterday morning and decided unanimously to bring a premature end to the campaign.

The Giants said in a statement released last night: "The Stena Line Belfast Giants will not be playing games until the Elite League decide the timing is right to return to the ice.

"This is obviously a tough and disappointing decision for everyone, but one that is appropriate to prioritise the safety of the fans, partners, players and staff.

"The team will continue to work in consultation with the Elite League to monitor the situation moving forward."

Eric Porter, chairman of the Odyssey Trust, added: "While we are disappointed to have the Belfast Giants' season cancelled, we respect and support the decision of the Elite League as the health of our fans, players, staff and sponsors is vital.

"On behalf of the Odyssey Trust, we would like to wish good health to all."

The EIHL is currently in the process of rescheduling the annual Play-Off Finals Weekend, which was due to be held at Nottingham's Motorpoint Arena from April 11-12.

At this stage chiefs are debating whether to call it a Play-Off Weekend, and how it would work, or make it a "Magic" Weekend at the start of next season, which will be debated at a later date.

It is also understood that the Elite League are leaning towards not awarding the league title to any team this season due to the campaign coming to a premature end, while European places also need addressed.

With no national champion, the Champions Hockey League will likely be asked to choose which EIHL team will be given the first European spot for next season, while the Continental Cup place will then be awarded off the back of that.

As the only side to lift a trophy this season, it appears likely that the Sheffield Steelers will receive one of those places, while the Cardiff Devils, as league leaders at the suspension of play, would likely be the recipient of the other place.

Belfast Telegraph