Los Angeles Times

NHL expecting 98% of its players to be fully vaccinated


Deputy Commission­er Bill Daly said Thursday the NHL expects 98% of players to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the start of the season.

The league projects that only between 10 and 15 of roughly 700 players will not be vaccinated by the time the season begins Oct. 12.

The league and NHL Players’ Assn. did not impose a vaccine mandate on players, but restrictio­ns — including the potential of not being able to cross the border from the U.S. into Canada without a lengthy quarantine — contribute­d to the number.

“We weren’t really trying to convince each other one way or the other,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. “But then I think when the NHL released that statement that you lose pay and stuff like that, that kind of changed some guys’ minds.”

Teams will be able to suspend unvaccinat­ed players without pay if they cannot participat­e in hockey activities as part of the protocols, which could include games in Canada since Daly confirmed there is no exception in this case for the country’s quarantine rule.

The Buffalo Sabres will be listed as the home team against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL’s Heritage Classic, to be played at Tim Hortons Field, home of the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats, on March 13, the league said.

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