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Vancouver Canucks, NHL appear determined to complete season despite COVID-19 outbreak

Last Updated Apr 8, 2021 at 7:10 am PDT

Vancouver Canucks players at practice. (Darryl Dyck/CP)
Summary

Next month could be quite busy for a Canucks team hoping the worst of their COVID-19 outbreak is behind them

Canucks confirmed Wednesday that 25 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19

Reports suggest NHL is targeting a date on or around April 16 for the Vancouver Canucks to return to play

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Despite dozens of positive tests, and a half-dozen postponed games, the NHL and the Vancouver Canucks appear set on completing the regular season.

But the next month could be quite busy for a Canucks team hoping the worst of their outbreak is behind them.

The team confirmed Wednesday that 25 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19, and that the source infection has been determined to be a variant.

Forwards Brock Boeser, J.T. Miller, Jimmy Vesey, and defenseman Jordie Benn are the only Canucks on the active roster who are not on the National Hockey League’s COVID-19 protocol list, which the league updates daily.

The Canucks have added one or more players to that list in each of the first seven days of April.

But multiple reports, including from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman earlier this week, suggest the NHL is targeting a date on or around April 16 for the team to return to play. Vancouver is scheduled to host the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 17 and 19 at Rogers Arena.

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Vancouver was due to open a two-game series in Calgary Thursday: that clearly won’t be happening with players and staff still in quarantine.

Friedman noted on Toronto’s FAN 590 Monday the NHL isn’t likely to announce any return-to-play plan until the team registers multiple consecutive days without any new positive tests.

Vancouver currently sits eight points out of a playoff spot in the North Division. They have not played a game since March 24, and time will be of the essence if and when the Canucks do return to action.

The NHL has revised its regular season schedule to end May 11. Whether the Canucks end up playing all 56 games, or are forced to shorten their season, remains anyone’s guess.