Tuesday, March 28, 2023

How Canadian teams avoided mandatory COVID-19 testing ahead of Games 3 and 4 in the US

COVID-19 is still having an impact on the hockey world, albeit on a smaller scale.

Canadian teams are taking alternative travel routes in the US to avoid testing. As the Oilers and Maple Leafs head south of the border for Games 3 and 4 in their first-round NHL playoff series, they are opting to just cross the border rather than fly.

Since the United States requires mandatory COVID testing within 24 hours of flight for anyone flying into the US from Canada, teams are electing to cross the border by bus and then fly domestic.

This allows teams to avoid testing players and potentially losing anyone to a playoff game. Players will be forced to miss at least one game if they test positive.

Players flying from the US to Canada are not required to be tested before crossing the border, as long as they are fully vaccinated. This is why the Lightning, Kings and Stars did not cross the border when they traveled to Canada for the start of their first-round series against their Canadian opponents.

MORE: Playoff Schedule: Brackets, Date, Time, TV Channels for Each Series

This different travel scheme is not only limited to the playoffs, nor to hockey.

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, this approach was used by NHL teams during the regular season.

In baseball, the Blue Jays are also using this method, as they consistently cross the border as the only Canadian team in MLB. They take the bus from Toronto to Buffalo, NY, a little over 90 minutes away, and then fly to their destination from Buffalo.

Teams returning from play in Toronto use the same travel plan. Incidentally, this scenario played out recently with the Blue Jays, Yankees and Lightning on the range at the same time.

Teams will continue to fly in the US to bypass the test requirement until all Canadian teams are eliminated from the playoffs if they are knocked out. The Canadiens made it to the Stanley Cup final last season. A Canadian team has not won the cup since Montreal won in 1993.

Nation World News Desk
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