Oct 13, 2021 - Sports

NHL announces all but four players have been vaccinated against COVID-19

A vaccinated section of fans sit at a New York Islanders game

A vaccinated section of fans at a New York Islanders game. Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The NHL announced in a press release on Wednesday that all but four players are vaccinated.

The big picture: With only four out of more than 700 players unvaccinated this season, the NHL has a 99% vaccination rate, according to NPR.

  • All NHL officials and "personnel that come into contact with the players" are also vaccinated, but it is unclear how many personnel are included in the league's stats, per NPR.

The big picture: The NHL introduced their unvaccinated policy last month, which had multiple restrictions for unvaccinated players.

  • Unvaccinated players will be tested daily and will not be allowed to go anywhere on the road except the team hotel, practice facility and the arena, according to ESPN.
  • Teams can suspend unvaccinated players who are "unable to participate in club activities," The Athletic reports. Unvaccinated players will also have to surrender one day's pay for each day they miss, unless they have a valid religious reason or medical excuse, according to ESPN.
  • But if a vaccinated player contracts COVID-19, it "shall be treated as a hockey-related injury for all purposes," per ESPN.

Of note: Five players — including Colorado star forward Nathan MacKinnon — entered NHL COVID-19 protocol on opening day, according to the statement.

What they're saying: "Everybody banded together to do the right thing. Maybe that's why hockey is the ultimate team sport," commissioner Gary Bettman said, referring to the NHL and the NHL Players' Association.

  • "We continue to reinforce the fact that everybody has to remain vigilant, particularly when we have teams traveling the way our teams typically do so we don't lose sight of this fact," Bettman added.

What's next: The NHL season started this week and will continue for the next several months.

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