Players to be tested daily as NHL returns to Vancouver
VANCOUVER -- On Monday, the second day of training camp, the Vancouver Canucks took to the ice at Rogers Arena thanks to an exemption to the provincial ban on adult team sports.
The province signed off on the National Hockey League’s Return to Play Protocol, which calls for players and team personnel to be tested for COVID-19 on a daily basis.
If a player tests positive, they’ll be isolated and the original sample will be re-tested, and there will be a pair of additional tests on consecutive days.
If the retest, or either of the subsequent tests, comes back positive, that will be considered a confirmed case and contact tracing will begin.
But one confirmed case will not necessarily sideline the whole team.
Under the NHL’s definition, a close contact is someone who lives with the person confirmed positive, someone who ate with them within a designated time period, or spent a total of 15 minutes within six feet of them within a 24 hour period.
All close contacts of confirmed cases that are part of an NHL team will be isolated and subject to the same series of tests on consecutive days outlined above.
The league also has extensive protocols for how players will interact when off the ice, including a limit of 10 people who may participate in fitness activities at one time.
The Vancouver Canucks will only play Canadian clubs in the regular season and a third document outlines expectations for teams when travelling.
A maximum of 50 people may be in a team’s travelling party and they will fly on a chartered plane.
One hotel in each city will be designated for all visiting teams during the season and players will not be permitted inside any building but the hotel and ice rinks, except under a few specific circumstances.
Each player will have their own hotel room and they must not be in the room when hotel staff such as housekeeping or engineering are required to be in the room.
The teams will eat meals together in a designated conference room with physically distanced seating arrangements, although players will be allowed to order room service and use food delivery apps provided there is contactless delivery.
All players will also be expected to comply with all local public health orders when in their home cities.
The Canucks training camp ends Jan. 12, and the team will open an abbreviated 56-game regular season the next day in Edmonton against the Oilers.
The Montreal Canadiens will be the first team to visit Rogers Arena, for three games in four nights beginning Jan. 20.