COVID-19 Canucks


The Canucks’ COVID-19 outbreak stands as professional sports’ worst, infecting half of the team and keeping them off the ice for weeks. (Courtesy of Instragram)

Since July 2020, sports have been battling through the COVID pandemic as they follow protocols and quarantines to keep everyone safe. All four major leagues, both men’s and women’s college basketball, the WNBA and more all crowned champions since the pandemic began. 

Despite an overall positive experience for most teams, we have certainly seen examples of outbreaks in locker rooms. Whether that be the Miami Marlins at the beginning of the baseball season, the Tennessee Titans this fall or the Buffalo Sabres back in February, the leagues have been able to recover in the two-week time frame. But what is now happening with the Vancouver Canucks  is unlike anything we have seen over the past nine months. 

On March 31, the game between Vancouver and the Calgary Flames was canceled at the last minute after Adam Gaudette was placed on the COVID-19 list. Since then, 24 other people have been placed on the list and will be sidelined through at least April 16. The scariest part of the recent outbreak is that the Brazilian variant of the virus, which is more contagious, has been detected. There is less knowledge about this variant than the Chinese variant we have been dealing with for the past 13 months. 

Despite the quarantine, the virus has spread like wildfire through the locker room and to their families. Gaudette’s wife contracted the virus as well and both have struggled through their bouts. Micaela Gaudette tweeted this: “A human being gets sick with a virus we don’t know much about and yall are angry at him because you cant watch a hockey game on tv” in response to people’s complaints on social media. Gaudette was taken off the COVID-19 list after a two-week battle with the virus on Monday, March 12. 

Judging by how other teams and athletes have responded to the virus, the Canucks may struggle to recover even after they return to the ice. (Courtesy of Instagram)

As the Canucks enter week two of quarantine there is a potential end in sight. The league has marked April 16 as a potential restart date, but their first practice back was canceled after another addition to the list. With over half the roster and multiple staffers on the list, the team will need to get completely healthy and begin to practice again to get back into game shape. Vancouver is on the outside looking in for the playoffs and Montreal is beginning to pull away with the fourth spot in the North division. It feels unlikely that Vancouver will have the rest of the season canceled but it would not impact the playoff picture if they did. 

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly commented the other day that it was unlikely the Canucks would play less than the 56 games allotted to each team. They have had a total of seven games canceled so far, and only four weeks remain in the regular season. It feels unlikely that they will play all 56 games, especially if they are fully eliminated from the playoffs.

While the Sabres were probably never going to make the playoffs, their two-week quarantine began their downfall this season. Cam Newton of the New England Patriots was not the same player after his battle with COVID-19. When Mika Zibenejad began this season, many believed he was fighting through a COVID-19 fog. This disease not only destroys the body, but the recovery is not immediate. If the Canucks are able to come out of the disaster they are currently in; there is certainly no guarantee they will be the same team they were before their pause.

This is a scary moment for the NHL and how the next week is handled by Gary Bettman, Bill Daly and crew will be very interesting.