Last night, the Vegas Golden Knights confirmed to Frank Seravalli of TSN that four players recently tested positive for COVID-19. The team explained that all four have been self-isolating and are recovering, but that the off-ice player areas at the Golden Knights facility would be closed through the Thanksgiving weekend. That includes the locker room, lounge, gym, training room, and video room. Seravalli adds that several family members of Golden Knights players have also tested positive.
Today, Seravalli has more coronavirus news. The Columbus Blue Jackets have had a “significant” number of players test positive over the last seven to ten days. The team has released this statement:
The Blue Jackets had several players recently test positive for the COVID-19 virus. Those players immediately began to quarantine and the club closed its off-ice facilities at Nationwide Arena beginning the week of November 16. No voluntary workouts were scheduled this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. The organization has and will continue to follow all recommended guidelines aimed at protecting the health and safety of our players, staff and community at large as set by the NHL, local, state and national agencies. The club anticipates players returning to our facilities next week for voluntary on- and off-ice workouts.
Obviously, the desire is to have all of the players safely prepare for the upcoming season without contracting the disease, but as we’ve seen with other sports this year, that is unlikely. The MLB got through a 60-game season and playoffs, eventually crowning the Los Angeles Dodgers as World Series champions despite several COVID-19 outbreaks that were contained and dealt with around the league. The NFL is continuing their own season, despite many players testing positive for the disease throughout the season.
The NHL, if it is to hold its season outside of a bubble, will likely have to deal with the same situations. When teams were originally preparing for the return to play postseason this summer, there were several outbreaks that kept players off the ice and away from the rink. The St. Louis Blues for instance explained after being eliminated that around one-fifth of their roster had tested positive at some point before entering the bubble. The Golden Knights and Blue Jackets will likely not be the last to announce outbreaks as things start ramping up again.