There were new questions Friday about the remainder of the Vancouver Canucks season as the number of players on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols climbed to 13 near the end of the day, along with three coaching staff.
Seven of the players and one coach were confirmed to have tested positive earlier Friday. Global News later learned an additional five players and two more coaches had also received positive test results.
Some of the later cases include more transmissible variants of the virus, Global News has learned, though it was unclear how many.
The Canucks organization told Global News it would not provide an update on the situation until next week.
However, defencemen Alex Edler and Quinn Hughes, forwards Zack MacEwan and Antoine Roussel, and goalie Braden Holtby were all added the league’s list of unavailable players on Friday.
Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini responded to the news on Twitter Friday, writing that “health comes before everything else.”
A player on the COVID-19 protocol list has not necessarily tested positive.
On Tuesday, Canucks’ forward Adam Gaudette was pulled from practice following a positive test. Wednesday’s planned game against the Calgary Flames was then suspended after two players and a member of the coaching staff entered into the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.
Travis Harmonic was added to the COVID list on Thursday.
The NHL initially paused all Canucks games until a Thursday, April 8 matchup against the Flames. A wider outbreak, however, could see games scrapped for up to two weeks.
The news is another blow for the struggling Canucks, who sit in sixth place in the North Division, after 37 games of the shortened 56-game season.
–With files from Global’s Jay Durant, Sean Boynton and the Canadian Press