Now many months into the pandemic, and through an interruption, a restart and now a delay, quite a few NHL players — including several big names — have been among the hundreds of thousands diagnosed with COVID-19. What the league has managed to limit to this point, however, are considerable outbreaks involving players and staff members in team and league facilities.
That is, until now.
As the league and its players squabble — with one eye on the calendar — over the financial details around its second return to the ice amid a pandemic, members of both the Vegas Golden Knights and Columbus Blue Jackets have recently tested positive for the virus, forcing the temporary closure of both teams’ practice facilities.
TSN’s Frank Seravalli confirmed with the Blue Jackets that “several” have received positive diagnoses over the last seven-to-10 days, but also reports that he’s hearing that the amount of confirmed cases could be considered “significant.”
Just a few hours before the Blue Jackets news, the Golden Knights’ PR staff confirmed four positive tests with Seravalli, which he notes was the largest known single team outbreak since March, when the league first shut its doors. Seravalli notes that the case numbers could be much higher among roster players and that multiple family members have turned in positive test results as well.
Both the Blue Jackets and Golden Knights have shut down their facilities and cancelled their voluntary practice schedules in response to the outbreaks, while players and staff members are following proper protocols.
How or if the outbreaks will impact the ongoing negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA is really unknown, but the issues at the practice facilities the league is hoping to rush back into to preserve a Jan. 1 start date has to be a consideration, at least.
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