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

Just Posted

Quinn, left, and Adrian Van de Mosselaer are going through UBCO’s nursing program together after Quinn encouraged his brother to go back to school. (UBC Okanagan/Contributed)
UBC Okanagan student transitions from professional hockey to nursing

Adrian Van de Mosselaer credits his younger brother for the push to get him back to learning

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
One death, 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 484 active cases of the virus in the region currently

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press Media file)
More than 40% of Central Okanagan residents have received 1st vaccine dose

Local clinics have administered 81,247 first doses to Central Okanagan residents

A GoFundMe page has been launched to alleviate the financial burden for “Captain” Kelly, a former Peachland School District bus driver who was recently diagnosed with stage three lung and lymphatic cancer. (GoFundMe.com)
Fundraiser launched for former Peachland school bus driver diagnosed with cancer

“Captain” Kelly was recently diagnosed with stage three lung and lymphatic cancer

Brenda Ware. (RCMP)
Murder charge laid against man in Kootenay National Park homicide

Philip Toner was located in Lake Country on May 11

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Vernon’s Tanya Wick, human resources VP at Tolko Industries Ltd., has been named the 2021 HR Professional of the Year by the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of British Columbia and Yukon. (CPHR BC & Yukon photo)
Okanagan resident gets top provincial award for HR excellence

Tolko’s Tanya Wick has earned the title of 2021 HR Professional of the Year

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

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

The City of Vernon is taking a close look at six high-priority Okanagan Lake access points, including three sites along Tronson Road (pictured above) in May 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Vernon council looking closely at Okanagan Lake access points

Six access points have been identified as ideal for recreation

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Police working to identify the two bodies found in South Okanagan

The area will see higher police presence ahead of a forensic examination

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Most Read