The Winnipeg Jets cancelled Saturday's practice as a precaution due to a potential exposure to COVID-19.
The Jets, in a press release issued hours before the team was set to hit the ice for 11 a.m. at Bell MTS Place, noted there was no further information to add and that a schedule for Sunday "will come at a later time."
It's not the first time the Jets – or the NHL, for that matter – have had to deal with the effects of the global pandemic.
Earlier this week, forward Nikolaj Ehlers was held out of practice for what the NHL is now calling a COVID Protocol-Related Absence.
It turned out that Ehlers had displayed flu-like symptoms, waking up with a sore throat. And though he said under regular conditions he would have likely attended practice, because of the league's new protocols he was required to stay home.
Ehlers ended up playing the season-opener one day later, even chipping in with an assist in a 4-3 overtime victory against the Calgary Flames Thursday night. In an interview after the game, Ehlers said he felt fine and applauded the Jets and NHL for their efforts to keep the players and greater community safe.
Just days into 2021's 56-game regular season, a number of NHL teams have been affected by the novel coronavirus. On Friday, the league announced 10 rescheduled games owing to COVID-19. A total of 27 confirmed cases of the virus had been detected in NHL training camps.
The Jets, much like the entire Canadian Division, were granted special permission to play hockey this year in their own arena; meanwhile, the general public is forced to contend with code-red conditions put forth by public health officials. The exemption for the NHL was granted because of their strict protocols in place.
The Dallas Stars are the lone NHL team to have an actual COVID-19 outbreak. By Friday, 17 players and two staff members had tested positive, creating the need to postpone the Stars regular season until at least Jan. 22 – more than a full week after most teams will have played their first game.
"S--- happens and you got to roll with it and deal with the hand that you're dealt with," Stars head coach Rick Bowness told reporters. "When you're dealing with a lot of unknowns, as we are with COVID, we have to prepare to change and adjust day to day. We usually put out a weekly schedule, telling everybody exactly what we are doing. But at the top of the page, it reads, 'subject to change on a daily basis.'"
Two players on the Vancouver Canucks – forward J.T. Miller and defenceman Jordie Benn – have missed both of their team's games this season while in COVID-19 protocol. A total of 15 – or nearly half of the NHL’s 31 clubs – have had a player affected by the coronavirus. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets had to cancel one day of training camp.
The Jets (1-0-0) are set to play the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Monday night.
After a slew of injuries playing hockey that included breaks to the wrist, arm, and collar bone; a tear of the medial collateral ligament in both knees; as well as a collapsed lung, Jeff figured it was a good idea to take his interest in sports off the ice and in to the classroom.