Canadian teams in American sports leagues have had to make some compromises. The Toronto Raptors spent an entire season playing home games in Tampa, after all.
For MLS franchise CF Montreal, things had been looking up; they’ve been playing home games at Red Bull Arena and at Orlando’s Exploria Stadium, but in recent weeks it’s become more plausible that the team could return to Canada for home matches.
That kind of free travel is somewhat dependent on team personnel being fully vaccinated, though, and one player’s reticence to get the vaccine led to him being traded to the Columbus Crew today for allocation money.
Via the team’s site, which broke the news of the move:
CF Montréal announced on Thursday the acquisition of $200,000 in General Allocation Money from the Columbus Crew SC, in return for forward Erik Hurtado.
“There was some interest in Erik during the past few weeks and we listened to the offers, even though we were satisfied with Erik’s work. Because he’s not vaccinated against Covid-19, his situation was problematic and we started considering a trade when we got the confirmation that the team could return to Montreal,” said CF Montréal sporting director Olivier Renard. “Before proceeding, Erik also confirmed that he was not comfortable taking the vaccine, so we concluded this deal, which we felt was very satisfactory. We would like to thank Erik for his professionalism and wish him good luck in his career.”
The Club acquired Erik Hurtado on February 16, 2021, as he was without contract. He played seven games with Montreal, including two starts, and got one assist.
It’s pretty crazy to see the Hurtado’s unwillingness to be vaccinated cited as the main reason he was traded, but here we are. That’s what can happen when you start bringing international travel and residencies into the mix right now, as every country is taking different approaches to vaccinated and unvaccinated visitors.
For Montreal, Hurtado probably isn’t a huge loss; they’re currently fourth in the Eastern Conference, and Hurtado hadn’t been an impact player for the team formerly known as the Impact.