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Dallas Stars players run a drill Wednesday during practice in Frisco, Texas. The team closed its facility Friday after six players and two staff members tested positive for COVID-19. LM Otero/Associated Press

The NHL said Friday that six Dallas Stars players and two staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 in a development that will push back the opener for the defending Western Conference champions by nearly a week.

The Columbus Blue Jackets also held a number of players off the ice “out of abundance of caution” in another reminder that the pandemic will likely play havoc with the season opening next Wednesday.

Dallas had been set to open the season Jan. 14 at Florida. The NHL said it was “reviewing and revising” the Stars’ schedule and the opener was not likely to be any earlier than Jan. 19, currently a rematch in Tampa Bay against the Stanley Cup champion Lightning.

The Dallas players and staff are self-isolating and the team’s training facilities were closed for the next several days amid contact tracing. The Blue Jackets, who are scheduled open their season the same night at Nashville, said their move was “in accordance with NHL COVID-19 protocols.”

The NHL successfully completed its pandemic-interrupted season in twin playoff bubbles last fall without any positive tests but has warned that the upcoming season will be a challenge.

The regular season was shortened to 56 games for each of the 31 teams, who will play only division foes. The divisions were realigned based on geography in an effort to limit travel; the North Division includes only the seven Canadian teams to avoid the complications of cross-border travel to and from the U.S.

The Canadian division cleared its final hurdle Friday when Manitoba announced it will allow the Winnipeg Jets to play home games. The province joined Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia in approving the league’s plan for play in Canada.

There will be no fans at Canadian arenas, at least to start the schedule. Players and team staff will be restricted to the hotel and rink when on the road, among other protocols.

“The protocols here are very good,” Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen said. “Of course, we’re happy to do what we like to do. And I feel grateful for that.”

DEVILS: Goaltender Corey Crawford has taken an indefinite leave of absence for undisclosed personal reasons.

The Devils made the announcement after a week of uncertainty in which the recently signed 36-year-old goaltender did not practice.

Coach Lindy Ruff has refused to discuss the reasons for Crawford’s absence.

Crawford signed a two-year contract with New Jersey as a free agent after helping the Chicago Blackhawks win two Stanley Cups. He’s expected to back up MacKenzie Blackwood.

The Devils are scheduled to open the season Thursday at home against Boston.

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