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The National Hockey League has been extremely successful in its efforts to encourage vaccination for all players and personnel. It announced that there are only four players left who haven’t gotten the shot.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman credited that achievement to continued collaboration between the league and the NHL Players’ Association, according to a recent news release. When the pandemic worsened in March 2020, officials put safety protocols in place that involved quarantining for weeks on end; during last season alone, the league administered 330,000 COVID-19 tests, according to Bettman.
“Our vaccination rate is incredible,” Bettman said at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday. “Four players, not four percent of players. All of our officials are vaccinated. All of the personnel that come into contact with the players are vaccinated.”
While it’s hard to say how many NHL personnel there are that would have been included in the league’s stats, there are more than 700 players participating in the 2021-2022 NHL season. That would mean that the NHL boasts a 99% vaccination rate at present time.
Last month, the NHL last month unveiled its policy for unvaccinated athletes. In addition to the possibility of suspension, which is up to the prospective teams, unvaccinated players are required to quarantine for a week before training camps and must submit to COVID-19 testing on a daily basis, according to ESPN. What they can do during away games is also extremely limited: unvaccinated players are not allowed to go anywhere aside from the team’s hotel, the training facilities, and the arena where the game is being held, and they’re also barred from having visitors in their rooms, the outlet reports.
The NHL’s announcement comes at the beginning of the 2021-2022 season, which kicked on Tuesday with the Tampa Bay Lightning facing off against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena.