After having meetings for a few days, the NHL and the NHLPA agreed to continue with the regular season as is regularly scheduled. Below is the full press release from the NHL.
NEW YORK/TORONTO (Dec. 19, 2021) – Following several days of meetings with their respective medical experts amid increasing positive test results and rising numbers of postponed games, the National Hockey League (NHL) and National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) today jointly announced the following:
i) We will continue to play the 2021-22 regular-season schedule. Although there has been a recent increase in positive COVID test results among Players, coaches and hockey staff, there have been a low number of positive cases that have resulted in concerning symptoms or serious illness. Therefore, the NHLPA’s and NHL’s medical experts have determined that, with virtually all Players and Club hockey staff fully vaccinated, the need to temporarily shut down individual teams should continue to be made on a case-by-case basis. The effects of recently introduced enhanced prevention and detection measures will be evaluated daily. The NHL and NHLPA, along with their medical experts, will be monitoring not only the number and pattern of positive COVID results, but also the depth of Club line-ups so as to ensure both the health and safety of the Players and the integrity of League competition.
ii) Due to the concern about cross-border travel and, given the fluid nature of federal travel restrictions, effective on Monday, all games involving a Canadian-based team playing a U.S.-based team from Monday, Dec. 20 through the start of the Holiday break on Dec. 23, will be postponed and rescheduled. Those additional postponements include:
Monday, Dec. 20:
Montreal @ NY Islanders; Anaheim @ Edmonton
Tuesday, Dec. 21:
St. Louis @ Ottawa; Vancouver @ San Jose
Wednesday, Dec. 22:
Montreal @ NY Rangers; Winnipeg @ Dallas; Edmonton @ Los Angeles
Thursday, Dec. 23:
St. Louis @ Toronto; Carolina @ Ottawa; Montreal @ New Jersey; Anaheim @ Vancouver;
Edmonton @ San Jose
(a full list of NHL postponements to date can be found on the League’s media site)
iii) Given the disruption to the NHL’s regular-season schedule caused by recent COVID-related events – 27 games had been postponed as of Saturday and at least 12 more will be postponed through Dec. 23 – and the continued uncertainty caused by the ongoing COVID pandemic, the NHL and NHLPA are actively discussing the matter of NHL Player participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, and expect to be in a position to announce a final determination in the coming days.
With the number one priority of maintaining the health and safety of our NHL community, and amid changing and unpredictable conditions, we are determined to remain flexible and adaptable both in terms of scheduling and in adjusting Protocols as necessary.
The Calgary Flames have missed four games so far (Chicago, Nashville, Toronto, Columbus) and have two games this week (Anaheim and Seattle) that have been postponed as well. They currently have 19 players in Covid Protocol and another 13 members (coaches and support staff) as well. The only players for the Flames that haven’t tested positive so far are Matthew Tkachuk, Michael Stone, Dan Vladar and Blake Coleman. December 18th was the first day last week that the Flames didn’t have a member of the organization test positive, as the Calgary was hit hard for most of the week.
And not to be outdone, shortly after the NHL released the above information, the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs announced that they would be shutting down as well, both through at least December 26th due to the number of positive cases with both franchises.