The COVID-19 variant, Omicron, swept through the United States and Canada following the holiday season. But over the last few weeks, COVID-19 rates continue to drop in the two countries and in the NHL. Due to this trend, the NHL will no longer test asymptomatic players and staff following the All-Star break. Rather, testing will only be used for symptomatic players and cross-border travel.
Frank Seravalli was the first to report this change in league protocol. He added that participants for the All-Star weekend, and their families, will be tested prior to travel. However, once in Vegas, there will not be further tests unless they show symptoms or need a test for cross-border travel home.
This change is certainly going to spark controversy. One side of the fence will likely agree with this procedure and keep it moving. On the other hand, some will say that this is ridiculous. Regardless, the league is hopefully making this change based on data they have to aid in such a decision. For the players and staff, many who have tested positive did not show symptoms at all, so this change will keep more players on the ice and staff with their teams.
From the Chicago Blackhawks‘ perspective, nearly the entire team has spent time on the COVID-19 list. Most recently, Jake McCabe and Seth Jones spent time in protocols before being activated over the course of the weekend. This change won’t help the Blackhawks now, but it surely alters how things will be handled around the league moving forward.
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