As part of the new agreement for the upcoming season, the NHL plans to punish unvaccinated players more severely if they test positive for the coronavirus.
According to people familiar with the matter, if unvaccinated players cannot participate in hockey activities as part of the agreement, they will be suspended for free. The person spoke with the Associated Press on Friday on condition of anonymity because the agreement has not yet been announced.
Any COVID-19 positive for a fully vaccinated player will be considered a hockey injury and will still be paid. Coaches and other team staff who interact closely with players must be fully vaccinated.
Players who have not been vaccinated will also be restricted while on the road. The vaccinated players will still be tested for coronavirus on a regular basis.
League officials estimate that 90% to 95% of players have been fully vaccinated before the start of the training camp later this month. The season started on October 12.
This week the teams were informed of the rules for the 2021-22 season, which were first reported by Sportsnet Canada. It is not yet clear how crossing the US-Canada border will affect this season.
The NHL re-adjusted last season to exclude the boundary until late in the playoffs. Seven teams in Canada only played against each other, and 24 teams in the United States played only 56 games.
When the Canadians faced Vegas and Tampa Bay in the final two rounds, as part of an agreement with the Canadian federal government, players and staff who shuttled back and forth were placed in quarantine in Montreal. The NHL held the entire 2020 playoffs in Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta, because the virus case rate in these cities was very low.