The National Hockey League and its players union announced Sunday that all games involving a Canadian-based team playing a U.S.-based team from Monday through the start of Thursday’s holiday break will be postponed and rescheduled due to COVID-19 issues.
The announcement will affect the Anaheim Ducks’ scheduled game at Edmonton on Monday, the Los Angeles Kings’ scheduled home game against Edmonton on Wednesday, and the Ducks’ scheduled game at Vancouver on Thursday.
Following several days of meetings, the NHL and NHLPA issued the following statement Sunday:
“We will continue to play the 2021-22 regular-season schedule. Although there has been a recent increase in positive COVID test results among players, coaches and hockey staff, there have been a low number of positive cases that have resulted in concerning symptoms or serious illness. Therefore, the NHLPA’s and NHL’s medical experts have determined that, with virtually all players and club hockey staff fully vaccinated, the need to temporarily shut down individual teams should continue to be made on a case-by-case basis.
“… Due to the concern about cross-border travel and, given the fluid nature of federal travel restrictions, effective on Monday, all games involving a Canadian-based team playing a U.S.-based team from Monday, Dec. 20 through the start of the holiday break on Dec. 23, will be postponed and rescheduled.”
The Ducks’ scheduled Tuesday road game against the Calgary Flames had already been postponed after the Flames were hit by a COVID-19 outbreak among players, coaches and staff.
Sunday’s announcement comes one day after the league and its union announced a series of enhanced COVID-19 measures that apply to both vaccinated and unvaccinated personnel, including:
— Daily COVID-19 molecular testing (preferably, molecular point-of-care) for all members of the club traveling party;
— Wearing masks at all times inside club facilities and during travel;
— Physical distancing for meals, and a prohibition against eating or drinking in indoor restaurants, bars and similar establishments open to the public while on the road, except in a private room or cordoned-off area;
— Virtual meetings, or only brief in-person meetings in large well-ventilated spaces;
— Restricted access to the locker room and player bench area to only players and members of the club traveling party;
— All media/broadcast personnel are now required to be masked at all times when they are within 12 feet of players.
More information can be found at media.nhl.com/site/asset/public/ext/2021-22/EnhancedMeasures.pdf.
Sunday’s statement added that “Given the disruption to the NHL’s regular-season schedule caused by recent COVID-related events — 27 games had been postponed as of Saturday and at least 12 more will be postponed through Dec. 23 — and the continued uncertainty caused by the ongoing COVID pandemic, the NHL and NHLPA are actively discussing the matter of NHL player participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, and expect to be in a position to announce a final determination in the coming days.”