The spread of Covid-19 in America is out of control. The country is still experiencing the first wave as new daily records for positive tests are the norm.
So far 26 of the 250 NHL players have tested positive for the virus.
NHL players have started to voice their concerns that the league will be able to pull off a 24 team tournament in Toronto and Edmonton safely.
Artemi Panarin of the New York Rangers issued a statement expressing his concerns recently. The Rangers’ leading scorer said, “I have concerns not only about the health of players and their families but also about the longterm prosperity of the NHL.”
Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens said, “It’s a very unusual situation. I want the opportunity to be able to play for a Stanley Cup, but I want to be able to continue living life normally,”
Sportsnet’s Eric Engels voiced their concerns in a Twitter thread Tuesday.
Engels spoke to several players who requested anonymity.
Despite their reservations, the majority of the NHLPA will vote to resume play. “Everyone’s gonna play no one is gonna opt-out,” one player said to Engels. “Hockey is a different culture Then [sic] other sports no one is opting out.”
This is distressingly sad.
How is a player that opts out going to be treated by his teammates who have battled and been beat up trying to hoist the Cup?
The players are being forced into relying on the league to keep them safe
.There are a large number of NHL players who don’t feel comfortable returning to play and that’s a situation the league will most certainly be facing before any games are played. The NHL must navigate the murky waters when it comes to immune-compromised players that are at greater risk. NHL players Max Domi and Kaapo Kakko live with Type 1 Diabetes, certainly an underlying condition of concern,
“The NHL and the Players Association have worked together through this process of battling COVID-19 safely. The Return to Play committee made up of five players including John Tavares who told TSN last wee,, “We don’t know what the world in the hub cities is going to look like,” TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger. said, “He didn’t say this, but one of the early concerns as you guys know was having availability and access with their families. How do you do that as close to risk-free as you can because you’re never going to be 100 percent risk-free?”
Dreger continued, “I think that’s where things could get a little snarly in the one little bit here. Because here’s what we know: We know that a good portion of the players from the 24 teams that they want to play. Who doesn’t want to compete for the Stanley Cup? Every player that plays in the NHL plays because they want to win the Cup and the money is great on top of that. But when they start to learn what the world is going to look like inside the hub and what the restrictions are, [when they learn] what kind of access they are going to have to their families? I think that’s when you’re going to get the undercurrent of the player that maybe doesn’t want to play.”
“[He] doesn’t want to play at all this year and just wants to keep things on pause and make sure the world is safe, and then kick off the 2020-21 NHL season when it’s safe to do that. There are a number of guys out there like that and it’s not just Max Domi, Kaapo Kakko, and the guys with underlying health conditions. There are a number of players out there [like that], but they haven’t surfaced yet.”
The final vote will be a contentious one as long as the “hockey culture” doesn’t rear its ugly head.