COVID-19 in the NHL

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Players affected at a staggering rate

The NHL season has only been around for about two weeks, and yet, the transmission among players/teams is staggering to say the least. This is especially concerning considering how relatively smooth the Stanley Cup playoffs were with regards to transmission rates, furthering the conversation of athletic safety during a pandemic. What’s interesting is that, despite the amount of cases that were found to be confirmed among training camps before the season started, the NHL still felt it necessary to begin the regular season.

The official NHL website shows details regarding the transmissions that took place within said training camps, giving some rather upsetting numbers.

“The NHL concluded its 2020-21 formal training camps for the 31 teams with a total of 27 Players with confirmed positive test results for COVID-19 among nine different clubs. The results include 17 Players on the Dallas Stars – most of whom are asymptomatic and all of whom are currently recovering without complication.”

Now, I’ve mentioned in a former article that the Dallas Stars were hit fairly hard by COVID-19 during the timeframe of the season starting. However, the impact of COVID among nine different clubs in a 31 club system (almost impacting a third of teams at 29 per cent) cannot be ignored. It’s clear to see that, even among the bubble that the NHL finds itself in, COVID-19 continues to make an impact on both players and the game of hockey as a whole.

This being the case, the NHL still finds itself with (as mentioned at the start of this article) staggering infection rates. Players what seems like every week find themselves moving onto the NHL’s COVID protocol list. For those who feel that the number of cases currently present aren’t that significant, I would disagree. Things have now gotten to the point of internal closures within the league, as can be seen with the Carolina Hurricanes below [info provided via the NHL official website]:

“The Hurricanes’ last game was a 4-2 win against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Monday [Jan. 18]. But the game Tuesday [Jan.19] was postponed “out of an abundance of caution,” according to an NHL statement, and the NHL announced Wednesday [Jan. 20] Carolina’s training facilities would be closed until further notice and games would be postponed at least through Saturday [Jan. 23] as a result of five players on the COVID-19 protocol list.”

These instances of COVID-19 transmission in the NHL, whether it be preseason or ongoing, show the general lack of ability on the part of a major league to keep players healthy. As much of a welcome back as it is to have hockey, there also needs to be a measure of guaranteed security on display in order to make sure that players can continue to pursue their passions and their goals.

Below you can find the following players that have been confirmed with COVID-19, with teams added:

Carolina Hurricanes – Warren Foegele, Jordan Martinook, Jaccob Slavin, Jordan Staal, Teuvo Teravainen

Columbus Blue Jackets – Mikko Koivu, Patrik Laine, Jack Roslovic

Dallas Stars – Blake Comeau

Detroit Red Wings – Adam Erne, Robby Fabbri, Sam Gagner, Jon Merrill, Filip Zadina

Florida Panthers – Juho Lammikko

Nashville Predators – Mikael Granlund

New Jersey Devils – Mackenzie Blackwood, Jesper Bratt

Philadelphia Flyers – Shayne Gostisbehere

Tampa Bay Lighting – Curtis McElhinney

Washington Capitals – Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Samsonov

Winnipeg Jets – Pierre-Luc Dubois; Tucker Poolman

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