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Minor league Grand Rapids teams suspending play

The Grand Rapids Drive and the Grand Rapids Griffins have suspended their season. The West Michigan Whitecaps delayed the start of the season.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Following the lead of major leagues, minor league sports are suspending their games out of concern for coronavirus. 

After the NBA announced the season was suspended when a Utah Jazz player was diagnosed with COVID-19, the G-League said it would also be putting a halt on games. This affects the Grand Rapids Drive, which is the G-League affiliate for the Detroit Pistons. 

Additionally, the NHL has suspended the 2020 season. The American Hockey League, which includes the Grand Rapids Griffins said Thursday that play has been suspended until further notice. The Muskegon Lumberjacks, which are a part of the USHL, also had their games suspended. 

Both the Drive and the Griffins are both in playoff contention with the season winding down. Officials from both organizations say there's a chance the rest of the season could be canceled but they're optimistic they will return in time to finish the year.

"I think we're going to play," Drive team president Steve Jbara said. "It could be a substantial amount of time between one week or two weeks to see where this thing lands, but I do hope we're going to play."

Both Jbara and Griffins team president Tim Gortsema say they are instructing their players to take proper precautions to protect themselves from the spread of the disease.

Major League Baseball said it is suspending spring training and pushing back the start of the season. Minor League Baseball, which affects the West Michigan Whitecaps, said they will delay the state of the 2020 championship season. The league said they will announce additional information at a later date. 

Major League Soccer also suspended play. 

The NCAA also announced Thursday that all men's and women's tournament games are suspended, including March Madness games. 

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