On Tuesday night the Golden Knights played a game at T-Mobile Arena without their entire coaching staff. After the game, Kelly McCrimmon confirmed that one member of the coaching staff had tested positive and the rest were isolating out of an abundance of caution.
Now, tonight’s game has been canceled with the league releasing the information that a player and another coach have entered the NHL’s COVID Protocols.
Many of the specifics remain unknown, but the protocols are clearly spelled out and can help us sort through what has already happened and what’s next for the Golden Knights.
How often are the players and coaches tested?
All players, coaches, trainers, equipment managers, and physicians are part of “Group 1.” Daily testing of all Group 1 individuals has been in effect since the beginning of Training Camp and through the first four weeks of the season.
What does it mean to enter the NHL’s COVID Protocols?
A player or coach can enter the protocols in a number of different ways. A positive test instantly places the person in the protocols. However, anyone exuding symptoms or anyone who has had close contact with someone that has tested positive are also entered into the protocols. Entering into the protocols does NOT mean a person is confirmed to have COVID-19.
What happens when someone tests positive?
If an initial test returns as positive, that person is immediately removed from the facility and is directed to isolate. Contact tracing is begun to identify others who could have been exposed. Then, a “second run” re-test is done on the positive sample, also the person is tested again 24 hours and 48 hours after the positive test. If any of those tests are positive, the person is confirmed as positive for COVID-19 and must isolate for at least 10 days. If all follow-up tests are negative, the person may return to the team.
What is considered close contact under contact tracing protocols?
A person is considered to be in close contact if they have been within 6 feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes over a 24 hour period starting from 2 days before the positive test or symptoms.
What if a player or coach has already had COVID-19?
There is no “immunity passport” that will exempt anyone who has had COVID-19 from any of the safety measures set out by the league.
Is a player placed on injured reserve (IR) when they enter the protocols?
According to the NHL’s Transition Rules, if a player tests positive they are able to be placed on long-term injured reserve (LTIR). This rules the player out for 10 games AND 24 days from the date of the positive test. If the team does not want to lose a player for 24 days, they can request the player be given a “non-roster” designation and he will not be counted against the 23-man roster.
What is the standard for a game to be postponed?
The league is purposely vague on the exact standard of how many players, coaches, or members of an organization must be placed in the protocols to postpone a game. However, the protocol states that if a situation “would likely create or exacerbate a material risk to players’ or others’ health and safety or jeopardize the integrity of the competition” the Commissioner may decide to delay, move, or cancel any game.
What’s the point of the taxi squad if not to step in for situations like the Golden Knights are experiencing today?
The purpose of the taxi squad is to have players available in the instance that multiple players are entered into the protocols and the league/teams believe no one else is at risk. If multiple players are forced to be away from the team for 10+ days, but the games are deemed safe to continue, the taxi squad was designed to have players step it.
If you have any other questions relating to the NHL’s COVID Protocols that you would like to see answered, please post them in the comments and we will update this article with answers.