Covid-19 Strikes NHL’s Vancouver Canucks With Over A Dozen Players And Coaches Affected

The Vancouver Canucks National Hockey League (NHL) team have been hit with a serious outbreak of Covid-19, with 14 players and three coaches currently on the NHL’s Covid-19 protocol list as of writing on Saturday evening.

The outbreak is the largest to strike not only any NHL team this season, but any team in major professional sports in North America. British Columbia, where the team are based, currently has a huge outbreak of the Brazilian P.1 Covid-19 and recently announced new measures to attempt to curb soaring case numbers, including closure of the iconic skiing resort Whistler Blackcomb.

The team last played on March 24th and have had their games postponed until at least April 8th, following an April 1st announcement by the Canucks on twitter. However, this announcement was made when only 2 players and one coach had been added to the NHL Covid-19 protocols list. The new list updated today (Saturday April 3rd) features several senior players, including captain Bo Horvat.

Confusingly, a player does not have to test positive for Covid-19 to enter the NHL’s COVID protocol list and the NHL has been tight-lipped on the other reasons players might be put on the list, so it has yet to be confirmed how many of the listed players and coaches actually have Covid-19. However, several sources have reported that the team does have cases and at least some of these are the P.1 coronavirus variant that has caused devastation in hard-hit Brazil.

Another, currently unconfirmed report from TSN’s broadcaster Darren Dreger have stated that some of the players are “very ill.”

P.1 is a particularly concerning variant with some evidence it might be more transmissible and have some resistance to antibodies generated to previous Covid-19 infection with conventional variants. The CDC states:

  • The P.1 lineage contains three mutations in the spike protein receptor binding domain: K417T, E484K, and N501Y.
  • There is evidence to suggest that some of the mutations in the P.1 variant may affect its transmissibility and antigenic profile, which may affect the ability of antibodies generated through a previous natural infection or through vaccination to recognize and neutralize the virus.

British Columbia has identified almost 900 cases of the P.1 variant in just the last week and the numbers continue to grow. As of the time of writing, the Vancouver Canucks have made no further public statements regarding the outbreak other than adding players to the NHL’s Covid protocol list.

Published at Sun, 04 Apr 2021 01:29:58 +0000

By Editor