The federal government waived its mandatory 14-day quarantine period for players acquired by Canadian NHL teams from American clubs “for reasons of national interest” before the league’s trade deadline of 12 April.
Two sources said players at The Canadian Press would now observe a seven-day quarantine upon arrival in the country and be subject to daily testing for COVID-19. Players will then be eligible to be part of their new teams while continuing to undergo daily testing the following week.
Anonymity has been granted to the sources as details of the exemption have not been made public.
Players entering Canada during the season were previously required to observe the standard two-week quarantine period with the border closed to non-essential travel due to the pandemic.
The Public Health Agency of Canada said in a statement to the Canadian Press on Friday evening that the five provinces with NHL teams – British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec – all “pledged in writing to support the risk mitigation measures proposed by the NHL.” . ”
“The Public Health Agency of Canada has been consulted on the NHL plan and assessed it against public health criteria,” the statement said. “With the support of provincial and local public health authorities, PHAC has concluded that, if fully implemented, it offers strong measures to mitigate the risk of importation and spread of COVID-19 in Canada. for additions during the season.
The reduction in quarantine time, which also applies to players recalled by American League teams south of the border, is a boost for the seven Canadian NHL franchises ahead of the trade deadline. Acquiring an American player and immediately having him sit in a hotel for 14 days was less than ideal.
The regular season is currently scheduled to end on May 10.
Staff and players arriving in Canada ahead of training camps ahead of the league’s 56-game season that kicked off in January were put through the same seven-day quarantine with additional testing.
But once the schedule kicked in, players again had to wait two weeks after crossing the border.
One example came when the Winnipeg Jets acquired center Pierre-Luc Dubois from the Columbus Blue Jackets for forwards Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic on January 23. Dubois didn’t make his debut with his new team until February 11.
The NHL ended the 2019-20 season in tightly controlled bubbles in Edmonton and Toronto, but the truncated pandemic campaign includes teams traveling between cities.
The league was forced to create a northern division based in Canada due to border restrictions. Players and staff are only allowed at airports, the team hotel and the arena on the road this season, while similar rules apply at home.
The Montreal Canadiens postponed four of their games this week after two players were added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol roster. General manager Marc Bergevin said Thursday that a member of the team had a confirmed case of a variant.
The Canadiens acquired veteran center Eric Staal from the Buffalo Sabers for two draft picks on Friday. The 36-year-old should have quarantined two weeks under previous rules, but will only have to wait seven days.