The NHLPA has strongly encouraged its players to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and warned of the potential for loss of pay for those who don’t do so, reports Michael Russo and Katie Strang of The Athletic (subscription link). The main scenario where this could happen is flying into Canada where border travel is facing heightened restrictions; commercial travelers will require proof of vaccination by the end of October and while NHL teams fly charter, they could be subjected to that same policy and not allowed into the country. In that situation, teams could have the ability to withhold salaries for the players not allowed in. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly noted that over 85% of NHL players have been fully vaccinated already so this wouldn’t necessarily affect many players but it’s a scenario the NHLPA wants to prepare its membership for.
Elsewhere around the hockey world:
- Jets forward Andrew Copp acknowledged to reporters, including Postmedia’s Paul Friesen, that his preference was to sign a long-term deal. However, Winnipeg’s cap situation after some of their additions on the back end basically forced their hand and the two sides settled on a one-year, $3.64MM pact that will walk the 27-year-old to unrestricted free agency next summer. With roughly $63.5MM tied up in a dozen players for 2022-23 per CapFriendly (excluding Bryan Little’s LTIR-bound contract), a strong showing next season could result in Copp playing his way out of Winnipeg entirely.
- Veteran winger Jaromir Jagr will turn 50 late in the 2021-22 season and the future Hall of Famer will spend it playing with his hometown team in Kladno in the Czech Extraliga. The overwhelming majority of players hang up their skates by that age but in an interview with Pavel Barta of The Hockey News, the veteran indicated that he’s continuing to play out of obligation more than anything else. Jagr happens to be the owner of the team and is worried about a loss of sponsorship that could put the team in jeopardy if he decided to call it a career. While he isn’t the top scorer he once was, Jagr had a dozen points in 19 games last season to help lead Kladno back to the top level.