The Vancouver Canucks’ health woes worsened again on Sunday, as the number of players entering the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol climbed to 16.
Three members of the coaching staff are also believed to have entered the protocol.
Canucks games have been suspended until at least Tuesday, and appear likely to be put on pause for much longer as the number of affected players and staff grows.
On Sunday, the NHL confirmed that Travis Boyd, Jalen Chatfield, Thatcher Demko, Alex Edler, Adam Gaudette, Travis Hamonic, Jayce Hawryluk, Braden Holtby, Bo Horvat, Quinn Hughes, Zack MacEwen, Marc Michaelis, Tyler Motte, Tyler Myers, Antoine Roussel and Brandon Sutter had entered the protocol.
A player on the COVID-19 protocol list has not necessarily tested positive.
Canucks general manager Jim Benning issued a statement Sunday thanking fans for their support.
“Our players, coaches and their families are grateful for the messages and we all hope for a return to full health as soon as possible,” he said.
“Our focus continues to be on the health of everyone involved and we are thankful for the extraordinary health care and guidance we have received from our team’s medical staff, B.C.’s health officials and from the NHL and NHLPA medical experts.”
However, some of the test-positive cases include more transmissible variants of the virus, Global News has learned, though it was unclear how many.
Each team in the NHL is scheduled to play 56 regular-season games. The start of the 2020-21 season was delayed until January and shortened because of the pandemic.
Vancouver’s postponed game against Winnipeg on Tuesday will be the 45th pushed back by COVID-19, with the first 37 in the NHL’s three divisions in the United States.
The Canucks were scheduled to be in Calgary on both Thursday and Saturday, but those games are in question given the scale of Vancouver’s situation.
The team currently sits in fifth out of seven places in the North Division, after 37 games of the shortened season.
With files from the Canadian Press