Ben Kuzma: For Canucks, Turner’s Celebration of COVID-19 World Series is an uplifting tale


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“As for what to do now, they all know how to stay safe,” Canucks general manager Jim Benning said Wednesday. “Are they well educated? I think so. They were drilled there on their return for training camp (July). We had a Zoom call with our team doctor, Dr Jim Bovard, for over an hour and there was a list of instructions to follow and protocols to follow.

“Our camp was very strict with tests and masks and when we spent 42 days in the bubble (Edmonton) with full safety you couldn’t walk 10 feet without a mask because someone was always there to tell you to put one.

“The players were on top of everything and when we left Edmonton a lot of the players went straight back to their hometowns and different jurisdictions and it was different in many parts of Canada, the United States. and in Europe.

The Canucks learned early on, even before Phase 2 of an optional return-to-play plan for optional practices, that diligence outside of a controlled team environment is just as vital. Optics are everything in a hockey mad city and failing to meet COVID-19 mandates sends the wrong message of compliance.

Jake Virtanen was at a Vancouver nightclub before Phase 2, and a video on social media showed the Canucks right-winger was not wearing a mask and practicing safe physical distancing.

“It’s the education of it all,” Benning said. “He drove from Kelowna and some friends wanted to go out and the next day I got the video at 7:30 am and spoke to him. It’s about optics. It wasn’t entering Phase 2 yet and still had to do some testing, but it’s all about being away and what it looks like and how it affects your teammates.


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