GM Benning: Vancouver Canucks will be 100% vaccinated by season opener
On the eve of training camp, Canucks general manager Jim Benning said the organization will be fully vaccinated by the time Vancouver opens the regular season on Oct. 13.
“So by the time the season starts, we will be 100 per cent,” said Benning. “Players, everybody on the staff, everybody in the front office, everybody’s been vaccinated.”
He said it wasn’t difficult to convince the players to roll up their sleeves. Most of them got sick with COVID-19 last season.
“What we went through last year as a team was really hard,” said Benning. “It wasn’t just hard on the players, but their families too. A lot of these guys have young kids and they all ended up getting sick. So I think as a group, they knew the importance of getting vaccinated and to give ourselves the best chance to get back to normal.”
Canucks forward JT Miller said, “I’m just trying to do my part. I got vaccinated, did what I had to come here and do my job, that’s what I get paid to do.”
Players must be vaccinated to cross the border into Canada without having to quarantine. The 15 or so NHL players who are so far refusing to be vaccinated, including Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi and the Blue Jackets' Zac Rinaldo, won’t be paid for games they miss in Canada.
An unnamed Edmonton Oiler is also unvaccinated. Oilers GM Ken Holland says by his calculation, he could miss more than 30 games in the U.S.
“I talked to him a few times, not sure where he is at. I’m going to talk to him in the next day or so,” said Holland, who suggested that player may not be able to slide back into the lineup for games he is allowed to play.
"If we are playing good, I don’t think you take somebody out to put that person in. So obviously its going to be very difficult,” said Holland. He hopes the unvaccinated player changes his mind, but isn’t preventing him from attending training camp.
“I think the player is going through a process to decide because it’s a difficult decision, so I want to give the person the appropriate time,” said Holland.
But the Columbus Bluejackets have told Rinaldo he’s not allowed to attend training camp.
“Everything we do together we do as a team, and as we continue to navigate COVID-19, it’s no different. We have to do what we have to do,” said Bluejackets GM John Davidson. “We have a responsibility as the leaders of the organization. We want our people vaccinated.”