VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — The Vancouver Canucks said 25 players and coaches have tested positive in a COVID-19 outbreak involving a variant of the virus.
The team said Wednesday that 21 players, including three from the taxi squad, and four members of the coaching staff have tested positive, and one other player is considered a close contact.
“This is a stark reminder of how quickly the virus can spread and its serious impact, even among healthy, young athletes,” the team said in a statement.
All players and staff are in quarantine, and 19 of the 22 players on Vancouver’s active roster were listed on the NHL’s COVID protocol list Wednesday.
The Canucks say the team has confirmed that a variant is involved in the outbreak, and full genome sequencing is being conducted by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control to determine which specific variant.
They said an ongoing investigation by Vancouver Coastal Health and contract tracing found that the outbreak was sparked by a single unidentified individual picking up the infection in a “community setting, which has since been identified by public health as a public exposure location."
Asked whether the NHL is concerned that a player or staff member broke the league’s protocol and sparked the outbreak, deputy commissioner Bill Daly declined to comment.
“We are aware of the facts and are comfortable that the situation was handled reasonably and responsibly,” he said in an email to The Canadian Press.
The Canucks’ outbreak began March 30 when forward Adam Gaudette tested positive. The NHL postponed Vancouver’s game against the Calgary Flames the following night when defenseman Travis Hamonic and a member of the coaching staff were added to the NHL’s COVID protocol list. A total of six Canucks games have now been postponed.