More than half of Vasili Podkolzin’s KHL team have contracted COVID-19


Podkolzin was not one of the positive cases and was part of SKA St. Petersburg roster for their game on Wednesday.

COVID-19 is rife in Russia’s top hockey league, with Canucks top prospect Vasili Podkolzin at significant risk.As the NHL carefully leads the 2019-20 Stanley Cup Final in a quarantined bubble in Edmonton, the KHL is already well into its 2020-2021 regular season. In the face of a global pandemic, the KHL felt ready to lead a season of its own, with inter-country trips and supporters in the arenas.

The KHL continued their plans despite 116 KHL players testing positive for COVID-19 ahead of the regular season.

Already, the KHL has encountered significant problems, with several teams reporting positive cases for COVID-19. For example, the only Latvian team in the league, Dinamo Riga, were unable to complete their first road trip through Russia when one of their opponents, Barys Astana, reported 12 cases of COVID-19, resulting in the postponement of the match. Upon their return to Latvia, Riga reported five positive cases, with government officials imposing a quarantine and demanding more matches be postponed.

Earlier this week, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl lost a game to Kunlun Red Star when they simply did not show up. Lokomotiv has not confirmed the number of positive cases, but the entire team has been quarantined.

In most cases, KHL teams with positive COVID-19 cases are not quarantined and simply replace their sick players with players from their junior teams. This is the case with Vasili Podkolzin’s team, SKA St. Petersburg.

Reports state that “more than half” of SKA’s roster tested positive for COVID-19, as did their coaching staff ahead of their game against Sibir on Wednesday. As a result, SKA froze the youngest formation in KHL history, as 10 players made their debuts in the KHL.

Podkolzin was not one of the positive cases and was one of six adolescents in the SKA line.

With no coaches available, billionaire SKA vice-president Roman Rotenberg stepped in behind the bench as head coach.

It’s amazing that the game even went as planned under these circumstances. The league has been criticized for forcing matches with junior players as well as for its decision to give Finland-based Jokerit Helsinki a forfeit loss after refusing to travel to Minsk, Belarus, amid their unrest. policies.

Additionally, the KHL’s decision to have fans in arenas without enforcing strict social distancing or masks seems extremely reckless.

For Canucks fans, the KHL’s apparent disregard for the health of their players is a major concern. Podkolzin, as the team’s top prospect, is an important part of the Canucks’ future. Outsourcing COVID-19 could have unintended consequences, as scientists are not yet certain of the virus’s long-term effects.

Meanwhile, the NHL should pay close attention to the KHL’s issues with its regular season as it plans its own 2020-21 season. They just can’t be as jaded about the dangers of COVID-19 as KHL has been.


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