CDC Warns of Potential to ‘Superspread’ at Beer League Hockey Games


TORONTO – The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning that recreational hockey has the right conditions for a “super-prevalent event” of COVID-19. In its most recent Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report, the CDC documented the case of a recreational hockey game in Tampa Bay, Fla., In June, in which 14 players and an arena staff member fell ill within five days of the game.

Of the 15 people, 13 subsequently tested positive for the new coronavirus, while the other two have not been tested.

Nine of the players who contracted the virus were on the same team as the ‘index patient’ – the first documented case of the game – while the other five were on the other team.

“Indoor space and close contact between players during a hockey game increases the risk of infection for players and creates potential for a mass event, especially with continued community transmission of COVID-19,” the CDC wrote in the report.

The CDC believe the team with the index patient had more infected players as they shared the same dressing room and bench during the game.

The CDC also said the situation could have been worse, given that each team had fewer players than a typical team and there was only one spectator.

“The ice rink provides a location that is likely well suited for transmission of COVID-19 as an indoor environment where deep breathing occurs and people are in close proximity to each other,” the CDC report said.

The report did not mention how the temperature in the arena could have played a role in the spread of the virus, but other studies have shown that COVID-19 spreads more easily in colder temperatures and can survive on surfaces longer when it’s colder.


Some hockey leagues have already taken drastic measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 during the game.

In Ontario, minor hockey no longer allows body checks or face-offs and has 50 player bubbles for practices and games. In addition, games should be played in a 3v3 or 4v4 format to increase space on the ice.

According to The Canadian Press, leagues in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia have said they will also consider playing away, if necessary.

Last week, Ontario Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Cultural Industries Minister Lisa MacLeod said the Ontario Hockey League, the best teen league in the province, would not be allowed to play only if bodily control was prohibited.

Meanwhile, in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the best league in Quebec and Atlantic Canada, the game has been suspended among its Quebec teams until the end of the month due to the increase in COVID cases. -19 in the province.

The Western Hockey League plans to resume play in January, although the league is still working on details with local governments.


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