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

Missing Surrey man Bernard Grempel. (Photo: Surrey RCMP)
Surrey RCMP seeks help to find missing man

Bernard Grempel was reported missing on Sunday and hasn’t been seen since Friday

Members of Whalley Legion Junior Band at an event in the early 1980s. (Facebook photo)
SURREY NOW & THEN: When the city’s ‘official band’ marched with Whalley Legion title

A weekly look back at Surrey-area landmark sites, events and people

A Surrey man has been charged with assault. (West Vancouver Police)
Surrey man charged after 17-year-old slashed with knife in West Vancouver park

Akash Ram, 19, charged with assault following May 2020 incident

This photo of murder victim Paul Prestbakmo was taken on a recent birthday, not far from where he was found with fatal wounds in August 2019. (Cory Brideau photo)
Verdict expected today for youths accused of killing South Surrey mechanic

Paul Prestbakmo was stabbed to death in August 2019

Semiahmoo First Nation archeology manager Don Welsh (left) sifts through shell midden at a Crescent Beach site in August 2019. (File photo)
Semiahmoo First Nation to repatriate 200 ancestors

B.C. grant funding return of remains from Simon Fraser University

Members of Whalley Legion Junior Band at an event in the early 1980s. (Facebook photo)
SURREY NOW & THEN: When the city’s ‘official band’ marched with Whalley Legion title

A weekly look back at Surrey-area landmark sites, events and people

Two small dogs were also discovered by the officer, one had died, and the other was taken by animal control and sent for veterinary care with the BC SPCA. (File Photo)
Body discovered in parked van in Mission with 2 dogs, 1 dead

Remains in state of decomposure, surviving dog sent for veterinary care with BC SPCA

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Cat who chases away coyote asked to join Port Moody, Vancouver police 

Caught on camera Friday, the black cat jumps out from under a parked car and runs the wild animal out of a vacant lot

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 top photo is of a real carbine rifle, while the bottom photo is the airsoft rifle seized from a Kelowna man on May 15. (Contributed)
RCMP issue warning: ‘Imitation firearms need to be dealt with responsibly’

A man brandishing his airsoft rifle in public had his weapon seized by Mounties on Saturday

Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (Black Press Media files)
Canada marks 25,000 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began

6 in every 10,000 Canadians died of COVID-19 since March 9, 2020

Staff-Sgt. Svend Nielsen, with the 100 Mile House RCMP. (Melissa Smalley - 100 Mile Free Press)
14-year-old boy killed in serious ATV crash near 100 Mile House

Youth was travelling with a group of peers when the incident occurred last Friday

Relief is coming for B.C.’s struggling tourism sector. (NEWS file photo)
B.C. officials set to announce more support for tourism sector hit hard by pandemic

Non-essential travel is restricted between three regional zones in B.C. until at least May 24

Most Read