NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly spoke to the Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli at the Player Media Tour in Chicago. Daly revealed that 98 percent of the league’s players will be vaccinated prior to the start of the season.
That sounds great until you do the math: 10-15 NHL players are not getting vaccinated. That decision could create a headache for both the teams and players themselves as they head into Game One of the 2021-22 regular season.
Expectation is 10-15 total players will be unvaccinated – subject to more stringent protocols.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) September 16, 2021
Players who choose to not get the COVID-19 vaccine will be subjected to harsh NHL COVID-19 protocols that could see them segregated from their teams, suspended, or without pay.
According to CBS Sports, NHL discipline for unvaccinated players includes:
The league reportedly has made exceptions for players due to “religious or medical reasons”, but it’s unclear if any of the 10 to 15 players qualify for those exemptions.
“We weren’t really trying to convince each other one way or the other,” Drew Doughty said according to the Associated Press. “But then I think when the NHL released that statement that you lose pay and stuff like that, that kind of changed some guys’ minds.”
One of those players whose mind was changed appears to be Dmitry Orlov, who said before arriving in Washington last week that he opted to not get vaccinated last season.
“Most likely I will have to be vaccinated there before the (2021-22) season starts so that this will not be a burden on me anymore,” Orlov said.
Orlov went on to state that he believed 85 percent of the team was vaccinated before the start of the 2021 playoffs. The team’s four Russians, including himself, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Ilya Samsonov all spent time on the NHL’s COVID-19 Unavailability List last season. Kuznetsov caught COVID-19 twice while Samsonov did once, missing a large chunk of the 2020-21 regular season.
There are four teams who are publicly known to be fully vaccinated now or expect to be before the start of training camp: the Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers, and Carolina Hurricanes.
Protecting ourselves. Protecting each other. Doing our part. pic.twitter.com/Xx1iQdtXyx
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) September 14, 2021
One coach has already lost his job due to his vaccination views. The Columbus Blue Jackets announced they fired assistant coach Sylvain Lefebvre because he refused to get the shot.
“While we are disappointed, we respect that this decision is a personal one for Sylvain and wish him well,” GM Jarmo Kekalainen said in a release.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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