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Jets not jumping the queue for coronavirus vaccine, says team owner

The Winnipeg Jets' Paul Stastny (25) defends against Nate Thompson (11) during their NHL training camp scrimmage in Winnipeg, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Despite rumours that the team will get special treatment and jump the queue to get a COVID-19 vaccine, Winnipeg Jets owner Mark Chipman says it’s completely false.

Chipman told 680 CJOB he doesn’t know where the false claim originated, but that jumping the line would be contrary to the way the team conducts its business.

“The reason we’re able to do what we’re doing now is because we’re testing every day, and those are costs that we’re bearing — which we should be,” said Chipman.

“So I don’t know where the suggestion would come from that we’re going to elbow our way to the front of the line.”

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Winnipeg Jets season preview – Jan 13, 2021

Similarly — vaccine or otherwise — Chipman said he doesn’t anticipate Jets fans will make their way back into the stands at Bell MTS Place any time during the shortened 2020-21 hockey season.

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While some jurisdictions have toyed with the idea of an ‘immunity passport,’ allowing vaccinated members of the public into events, Chipman said it hasn’t even been discussed for Winnipeg.

“If that were to change, I imagine it would have to do with our ability to provide vaccination, but I have no understanding of when that would occur,” he said, “other than it’s unlikely it would occur within the timeframe that we’re going to play this season.”

Read more: Manitoba reports 2 more coronavirus deaths, 261 new cases Thursday

The season, he said, was planned under the assumption that there would be no in-person fan attendance, and the Jets will defer to league rules and the guidance of health officials in an effort to keep Winnipeggers safe.

“We’ve lost 753 souls in our community… I don’t know what more evidence anyone would need than that to understand how dangerous this virus is, so we’ve got to take it very seriously, and that’s what we’re doing.”

The province reported two more deaths and 261 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday.

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