NHL Announces COVID Policy For 2022-23 Season

Another NHL season, another set of (pointless) COVID policies.

A couple of months away from the start of the 2022-23 NHL regular season, and the league has unveiled their COVID-19 policy.

The league’s policy (which can be found in full on their website) says that the NHL will continue to adhere to “all applicable regulations imposed by local, provincial/state, and federal health authorities.” League personnel are also encouraged to follow “best practices” suggested by the CDC, and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The league strongly encourages vaccinations, but they are not mandatory. The NHL went on to mention that a player’s vaccination status could determine whether or not they can take part in team activities.

The NHL made it to the end of the 2021-22 season, but not without some COVID-related headaches, including a significant number of games being postponed. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Any player who sees symptoms will have to isolate for a minimum of five days. They can only return once they get the all-clear from the NHL and NHLPA medical personnel.

Any violations of the league’s COVID guidelines — which also include rules about testing and enhanced safety measures — are to be reported to the NHL’s deputy commissioner, Bill Daly.

The NHL and NHLPA reserve the right to postpone or cancel games over health concerns or if they “jeopardize the integrity of the competition.”

Travel Remains A Concern For The NHL

Whenever COVID and NHL appear in the same sentence, the focus usually winds up on travel. The NHL requires more international travel than any other major North American league. That’s simply because seven of the league’s 32 teams are located in Canada.

And we all know how easy traveling to Canada is right now…

The NHL’s COVID policies permit teams to suspend unvaccinated players who are unable to travel with the team. However, teams can withhold players’ pay for each day that they miss team activities due to their vaccination status.

Meaning, the punishment for being unvaccinated is the same one as any other suspension for on-ice conduct.

Detroit Red Wings left wing Tyler Bertuzzi made headlines last season for his decision not to get the COVID vaccine.
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

This sure seems like something the player’s union won’t be too happy with. However, the guidelines mention that the NHL “worked closely with the NHLPA” in developing them.

Going into the 2021-22 NHL season, Commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the league had only 4 unvaccinated players.

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Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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