San Jose Sharks center Patrick Marleau (12) attempts a shot on Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner (90) during the third period of an NHL hockey game Monday, April 19, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

San Jose Sharks center Patrick Marleau (12) attempts a shot on Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner (90) during the third period of an NHL hockey game Monday, April 19, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

NHL: Virus protocols not ‘relaxed’ for vaccinated players

In the U.S., roughly 40% have had one dose and 25% are fully vaccinated

The NHL on Wednesday confirmed it has not guaranteed loosened virus protocols for players who are vaccinated after Vegas goaltender Robin Lehner ripped the league for what he said were unkept promises.

“Nobody from the league has communicated to any player or club that any of our COVID protocols would be ‘relaxed’ for any player once he is vaccinated,” a league spokesman said.

The NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball have set vaccination thresholds to relax some protocols, such as mask-wearing and prohibition of outdoor dining, when a certain percentage of team personnel are fully inoculated against COVID-19. Those leagues have all teams currently playing in the U.S., where everyone 16 and older can get a vaccine. The NHL has seven teams in Canada, where eligibility — the nation only recently moved to 40 and older in some jurisdictions — and availability is not nearly as robust.

The NHL has only one player, Toronto’s Joe Thornton, over age 40 and playing in Canada, where 25% of people have received one dose and 2.5% are fully vaccinated, according to the Global Change Data Lab. In the U.S., roughly 40% have had one dose and 25% are fully vaccinated.

Lehner said the league showed players the NBA’s protocol plan and told them “(when) X amount of players leaders in this team or leaders around the league takes this vaccine, a new set of rules are going to come out.” He said he had calls with the league and NHL Players’ Association on Tuesday and found out nothing was changing.

“They told me yesterday they’re surveying all the teams to see who has taken the vaccine and who has not taken the vaccines and they’re not going to change the rules for us as players until all the teams have a fair, have the vaccines at the same time, so it’s not a competitive edge,” Lehner said during 10 minutes of unprompted comments on the subject. “They’re talking about competitive edge instead of human lives. Competitive edge, human lives. We’re humans, too.”

The league has not publicly announced any changes to its pandemic protocols, which limit where players, coaches and staff can go. Lehner’s comments concerned the mental health of himself and fellow players, a topic he has talked about often in recent years.

Lehner called the NHL’s situation “totally unacceptable.”

“Look at the NBA, NFL and the other leagues,” he said. “They’ve already implemented these things. And now we are, we are vaccinated and we’re still going to be trapped in a prison.”

Lehner apologized on Twitter for his use of the word “prison” but stood by his mental health concerns given the restrictive protocols.

READ MORE: Pearson, Sutter each score 2 as Canucks dump Maple Leafs 6-3

___

Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusNHL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Stock photo.
Grand Forks drug trafficker to be sentenced in Castlegar

Ryan Plotnikoff pleaded guilty to trafficking meth, following his November 2020 arrest by Grand Forks RCMP

Stuart Ashley Jones, 56, was at Grand Forks provincial court for sentencing on May 5, 2021. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks man shot by police during peak freshet sentenced to house arrest

Stuart Ashley Jones was shot by a Grand Forks Mountie after ramming two police cruisers in May 2018

Accused drug trafficker to plead to federal, provincial charges in June

Matthew Straume said he’d missed his last court date because he was ill

Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks sex crimes trial adjourned until summer

The trial was set to begin at the city courthouse Wednesday, May 5

Photo: Kathleen Saylors
Grand Forks city council votes down motion to support Penticton in paramountcy battle

Coun. Neil Krog insisted Penticton’s issue with Victoria is about city bylaws, not homelessness

Thursday, Feb. 4: RDKB Chief Engineer Darryl Funk hoists a banner commemorating last year’s championship season by the Bantam House Bruins. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Bantam Bruins honoured at hair-raising banner ceremony at Grand Forks’ Jack Goddard Arena

Asst. coach Mike Tollis said he reluctantly gave in to the team’s victory wish that he cut his pony tale

Junior A team Coquitlam Express is offering all Tri-City residents who get vaccinated against COVID-19 a free ticket to one of their games. (Facebook/Coquitlam Express)
B.C. hockey team offering free tickets to hometown fans who get the COVID-19 vaccine

‘We know the only way to get fans back is people getting vaccinated,’ says Express’ general manager Tali Campbell

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s latest COVID-19 restrictions cost thousands of service jobs

Part-time workers set back again by spike in virus spread

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Leaked report shows detailed B.C. COVID-19 data not being released to public

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Abbotsford school board trustee Phil Anderson has stepped down after sharing an offensive image on Facebook. (File photo)
Abbotsford trustee temporarily steps down after sharing post relating COVID masks to slavery

Phil Anderson to receive training to better understand provincial mask mandate after posting picture

B.C. announced the launch of an app May 7 that connects youth struggling with mental health and substance use with “life-saving” social services. (Screen grab)
5 years in the making: Mental health app for youth and children launches in B.C.

The province provided $1.6-million to fund a virtual care platform

Amazon has announced the creation of five new facilities in B.C., to employ about 2,000 people. (Amazon/Special to Black Press Media)
Amazon adds new facilities in Langley, Pitt Meadows, Delta, Vancouver

The Vancouver port centre will be the first Amazon centre to feature robotics in B.C.

Mahitha Mohan is working in Nelson as a community support worker at Community Connections Support Services. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Immigration pilot targets hard-to-fill jobs in West Kootenay

Program helps newcomers get permanent residency status in rural areas

Most Read