COVID-19 has rocked the Vancouver Canucks likely in a way that we haven’t seen with any other major pro sports franchise, at least in North America.
There are 14 Canucks players currently on the NHL’s COVID list, and that number is expected to rise when the league updates it this afternoon. While a player can end up in COVID protocol for multiple reasons, various reports (including this one from Patrick Johnston of Postmedia) indicate that the vast majority of the players identified have indeed tested positive.
That list doesn’t include players on the taxi squad, of which reports indicate it has spread there too. It also doesn’t include coaches, but the outbreak hasn’t spared them either.
Of extra concern is the fact that the Canucks are being affected by the Brazilian P.1 variant, which can be 2.5 times more transmissible than other strains of the coronavirus. Not only that, but this variant, which is now spreading in British Columbia, sends more young people to hospital.
The symptoms can be serious, even for young, elite-level professional athletes.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, some of the symptoms the Canucks are suffering from include vomiting, cramping, and dehydration. The virus has spread to over 20 players and coaches, plus family members, according to Dreger.
Number of positive cases climbing within the Vancouver Canucks. More than 20 players/coaches combined have tested positive. Variant symptoms include vomiting, cramping and dehydration. Family members are getting it. Scary situation. Next 5-7 days will determine scheduling.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) April 4, 2021
Some people “can’t get out of bed,” adds Irfaan Gaffar of The Fourth Period.
Chatted briefly with a couple people who are dealing with the current Covid situation with the #Canucks – it’s tough, some of these guys can’t get out of bed. “Absolute shock to the body.”
— Irfaan Gaffar (@irfgaffar) April 4, 2021
CHEK’s Rick Dhaliwal adds that some players are now questioning whether it’s “worth playing or not.”
Source close to the Canucks situation – “This is the first wave of it where I’ve heard guys really question whether it’s worth playing or not.”
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) April 4, 2021
The NHL has already postponed four Canucks games, but that number will grow larger, as the expectation is the team will need to be off the ice for at least two weeks — and probably longer. With just over a month left in the regular season, that could make for a scheduling nightmare, but clearly the top priority right now is the health of Canucks players, coaches, staff, and their families.
“On behalf of our entire team, I want to thank fans everywhere for their support this past week,” Canucks GM Jim Benning said in a statement released Sunday afternoon. “Our players, coaches and their families are grateful for the messages and we all hope for a return to full health as soon as possible.
“Our focus continues to be on the health of everyone involved and we are thankful for the extraordinary health care and guidance we have received from our team’s medical staff, BC’s health officials, and from NHL and NHLPA medical experts.”