The 2021-22 NHL season is underway, and while the majority of players are fully vaccinated — only Tyler Bertuzzi remains the most notable name remaining unvaccinated — COVID-19 is still impacting rosters on a nightly basis.
A number of the league’s stars, including Patrick Kane, Erik Karlsson and, as of Nov. 3, Sidney Crosby, have tested positive.
Players who test positive are placed on the non-roster COVID-protocols list. It should be noted that other players could end up on this list too. Like last season, “COVID Protocol Related Absences” can be the result of a number of factors, including an initial positive test which remains unconfirmed until confirmatory testing is done; mandated isolation for symptomatic players; required quarantine as a high-risk close contact; isolation based on a confirmed positive test result; quarantine for travel or other reasons.
What is the NHL’s COVID protocol in 2021-22?
With a vaccine now available, the rules are a little different than last season. A vaccinated player is described as anyone who is two weeks post-second dose.
Unvaccinated players are not allowed to travel to Canada due to quarantine restrictions in the country. Therefore, clubs can suspend the players for inability to participate and require them to forfeit one day’s pay for each day they miss. Players who are unvaccinated are also required to follow the majority of rules that were in effect last year, including but not limited to wearing masks at all times while not on the ice; exercising or eating; maintaining 6 feet of distance; not sharing rooms or spaces — such as cars — with other players.
Vaccinated players are only subject to testing every 72 hours or if symptomatic, while unvaccinated players must get tested every day. Players who test positive (a confirmed positive) and are symptomatic must isolate. They must stay in isolation until at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, symptoms have improved and are cleared by medical personnel to return. Depending on symptoms (e.g., cough, fever, chest pain), a cardiac screening must also be done and cleared.
If they test positive and have to miss games, vaccinated players are listed as having a hockey-related injury and are paid. Unvaccinated players are not paid.
NHL players out of games because of COVID-19 in 2021-22
Updated as of Nov. 3, 2021
Columbus Blue Jackets
*Detroit Red Wings
*Because Bertuzzi is unvaccinated he has missed the following games: Oct. 23 in Montreal; Oct. 30 in Toronto; Nov. 2 in Montreal.
Los Angeles Kings
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
San Jose Sharks
St. Louis Blues
Tampa Bay Lightning
Toronto Maple Leafs
Vegas Golden Knights
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