The Boston Bruins will head into training camp this week completely vaccinated for the 2021-22 NHL regular season.
Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney confirmed to the Boston Globe at the Buffalo Sabres Prospect Challenge tournament this past weekend that all Bruins players and staff are fully vaccinated. This news comes just under three weeks after Bruins defenseman Connor Clifton confirmed that he had contracted COVID on his recent honeymoon. Now it appears that the chance of another Bruin making such an announcement is much less likely as training camp gets underway this week.
This also means that even if a Bruins player does contract the virus during the season, they will still be paid for the time they miss in recovery. The NHL recently revamped its COVID protocol and in an effort to get the NHL to a 100-percent vaccination rate by the time the season starts on October 12, the rules were much stricter for unvaccinated NHLers than for vaccinated. Teams are now able to suspend unvaccinated players without pay if they cannot participate in hockey activities due to COVID protocol. That will likely include games in Canada since there is no exception in this case for the country’s quarantine rule. Unvaccinated players also will have their lives restricted on the road and basically be limited to the team hotel and the rink.
Per the COVID Protocol memo sent out to the entire NHL on September 2 and via ESPN:
“Unable to participate in club activities. whether it’s due to a positive case or the inability to travel due to governmental restrictions. Unvaccinated players will surrender one day’s pay for each day they miss, although the league will make exceptions for players with valid religious reasons or medical excuses. The league also won’t suspend an unvaccinated player if it’s determined the case “[arose] out of the course of employment as a hockey player.”
Thankfully for the Boston Bruins, that part of the protocol will not affect them now and there’s a good chance that it will become moot for the entire league as NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly recently stated that the league is currently at a 98-percent vaccination rate.
“Our latest information really suggests 10 players or less will not be fully vaccinated by opening day of the regular season,” Daly said at the NHL/NHLPA Player Media Tour last Thursday. “Now, that is subject to change, obviously, because it’s dependent on who makes the roster and who doesn’t make the roster and what the status of those players are, so it’s really a projection at this point. But I think we’re safe in saying that it’s going to be less than 15 [players].”