Story at a glance

  • “We were approached and promised things for our league if we got vaccinated,” Lehner said. “When we did it, now they changed. They said it’s not happening. I think that’s wrong."
  • Lehner, who has been outspoken about his mental health and is bipolar, said he was unsure about receiving the shot but was encouraged to do so by the easing of restrictions.
  • NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly pushed back against the claim that the league made those promises to players.

Las Vegas Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehner is criticizing the NHL over its handling of its COVID-19 vaccination policy, claiming the league went back on promises made about loosening restrictions on players who got vaccinated. 


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During a news conference Wednesday, Lehner said the NHL and NHL Players Association (NHLPA) told players that if the league hit a certain threshold of vaccinations players wouldn’t be subjected to such strict quarantine protocols, similar to policies implemented in the NBA and MLB, according to ESPN. 

The NHL has put in place strict measures on players that require them to remain largely isolated while on the road and at home. 

“We were approached and promised things for our league if we got vaccinated,” Lehner said. “When we did it, now they changed. They said it’s not happening. I think that’s wrong." 

“That was a lie. A blatant lie.”

Lehner, who has been outspoken about his mental health and is bipolar, said he was unsure about receiving the shot but was encouraged to do so by the easing of restrictions. He noted that those who are diagnosed as bipolar are told not to stay isolated and emphasized the mental health impact the pandemic has had on people. 

The goalie said he spoke with the NHL and NHLPA Tuesday and was told they were looking to see how many players had received the vaccine and that until all teams have had the opportunity to become fully vaccinated, there was a concern about “competitive edge” if restriction on vaccinated teams were rolled back. 

“This is human lives and people are struggling with this stuff a lot in society, and we are humans just like everyone else.” 

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly pushed back against the claim that the league made those promises to players. 

“It’s been a matter that’s been raised and discussed as between us and the NHLPA, but now decision to modify has ever been made nor communicated to anyone,” Daly told ESPN


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Published on Apr 22, 2021