The Vancouver Canucks saw their planned NHL home game against the Calgary Flames postponed 90 minutes before puck drop Wednesday night thanks to two players and one coach being placed in the league’s COVID-19 protocols. On Thursday, the NHL announced that the Canucks now won’t practice until at least Monday, April 6, and that their targeted return to game action will be Wednesday, April 8:
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 1, 2021
In addition to the already-postponed game against the Flames, the Canucks had been set to play on the road April 3 and 4 (against the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets respectively) and at home April 6 (against the Jets). Those games are now all postponed until further notice. And that may add to the NHL’s overall delays, which have already seen the planned postseason set back by at least a couple days.
Beyond that, it’s notable that the second player here (the first one was forward Adam Gaudette, pulled from practice Tuesday but initially thought to be an isolated case) is defenseman Travis Hamonic. Ahead of the shortened playoff qualification/playoffs last year, Hamonic (then with the Calgary Flames) became the first NHL player to opt out, citing concerns about his family’s safety:
A statement from Calgary Flames defenceman Travis Hamonic. pic.twitter.com/saLjEKoyQA
— Titan Sports 365 (@TitanSports365) July 11, 2020
While Hamonic has been placed on the COVID-19 protocol list, that can be due to close contact, not just confirmed cases. Hopefully he’s okay, and hopefully this won’t bring any challenges for his family.
[@PR_NHL on Twitter; photo of Wednesday’s empty arena from Bob Frid/USA Today Sports]