NHL does not plan quarantine of players ahead of restart despite positive coronavirus tests
Despite recent reports that 11 NHL players have tested positive for the coronavirus, the league said it would not require quarantine for players ahead of the season resumption in late July.
Last week, the Tampa Bay Lightning closed its facilities after three players, as well as other staff members, tested positive, The Associated Press reported.
NHL training camps are slated to open beginning July 10. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said Thursday the league and NHL Players’ Association would not consider putting the teams in quarantine before the mandatory training sessions.
Frequent testing will be conducted during training camp sessions. However, the overall prospects for the season resuming will be up to the players, coaches and staff of teams to keep virus cases significantly down until arriving at the designated “hub” cities for playoff games as early as July 23.
The league has said it would choose two hub cities to host games in July, where mandatory testing protocols are said to take place daily once competitions commence, according tothe NHL.
“I’m pretty confident that once we get into hub cities, we’ll be able to do a good job of keeping it out,” Jason Spezza, veteran Toronto forward said. “I think getting there is going to be the challenge, and that’s where it takes a little bit of discipline for us as players to make sure we don’t kind of derail the plans.”
The U.S. recorded 34,500 COVID-19 cases Wednesday, which fell just short of the peak of virus infections set in late April, the AP reported.
The training camp sessions resuming the second week of July will reveal where the league stands in its progress toward limiting COVID-19 infections.
“As everything around us starts opening up, we almost have to tighten up because we’re going back to play,” Spezza said. “We have to be probably a little more careful as we get closer to training camp here.”
The NHL discovered 11 positives among more than 200 tests conducted on players.