Three more Calgary Flames players have entered the National Hockey League’s COVID-19 protocol, the team announced Tuesday morning.
Forwards Milan Lucic and Sean Monahan, and defenseman Noah Hanifin join six other skaters and a member of the training staff in the coronavirus protocol. NHL teams carry 25 players on their roster.
“Our team is 100 per cent vaccinated and some like myself also have a booster,” Lucic wrote Tuesday in a Twitter post that was later deleted.
“Looking forward to being back on the ice soon!”
On Tuesday afternoon, Flames GM Brad Treliving addressed the media virtually, outlining the series of events that led to the players and staff testing positive for COVID-19.
Treliving said the team tested Saturday morning ahead of their game against the Boston Bruins, part of the regular testing the team does as part of league and international travel requirements. Results from subsequent rounds of testing in the following 48 hours revealed the total of nine players and one staff had COVID-19.
“Number one priority for everybody is the health and safety of our players, their families, those closest to them, everybody impacted by that,” the Flames GM said.
Calgary hosted the Boston Bruins on Saturday, Dec. 11 and the Carolina Hurricanes on Dec. 9.
Treliving said the timing of testing and results made it unclear whether there was on-ice transmission between players on those teams, adding in-game transmission has been a concern since the beginning of the pandemic and Flames players have previously tested positive.
He also said the team hadn’t yet received word on which COVID-19 variant his players could have.
The team’s training facilities were closed on Monday out of precaution.
On Monday, the league said “concern with continued spread and the likelihood of additional positive cases in the coming days” led it to postpone all Flames games through at least Dec. 16.
The team’s training facilities were also closed on Monday out of precaution.
The Flames were due to play in Chicago on Monday, in Nashville on Tuesday and play host to Toronto on Dec. 16.
Treliving couldn’t say whether further games would be postponed.
“It’s too early to tell right now.”
He also said it was premature to anticipate having enough of a healthy roster to play a game scheduled for Saturday hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“Tuesday to Saturday seems like an eternity right now.”
On Tuesday morning, the Bruins announced it had placed forwards Brad Marchand and Craig Smith into COVID-19 protocol.
On Monday, the Hurricanes announced it placed two players and a member of the training staff in COVID protocol. On Tuesday afternoon, four more Hurricanes players were added to the COVID protocol and the league announced the game that evening was postponed.
Also Tuesday afternoon, the Edmonton Oilers added forward Ryan McLeod to the league’s COVID-19 protocol. The Oilers played host to the Hurricanes on Saturday.
On Monday, the Calgary Flames said Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane, Brad Richardson, Adam Ruzicka, Chris Tanev, Nikita Zadorov entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.
Calgary becomes the third NHL team to postpone games this season, following the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders.
“The stigma around it isn’t because people are doing the wrong things,” Treliving said. “(COVID-19 is) out there. You do your very best to be safe and smart and do the right protocols.”
Read the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol below: