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Photo Credit: Ben Nelms /PNG Merlin Archive

As Oilers face issues, Jim Benning says the Canucks’ organization will be 100% vaccinated by opening night

The Vancouver Canucks are expected to reach a vaccination rate of 100%, according to general manager Jim Benning.

“Our organization will be 100% vaccinated by the first game of the season,” Benning said in a press conference this morning. “We have a strict policy in place… players, staff, everybody in the front office will be vaccinated.”

The Canucks were rumoured to have at least one player who was vaccine-hesitant, and captain Bo Horvat made it very clear that he hoped all of his teammates would roll up their sleeves and get the shot that makes them exempt from strict COVID-19 protocols which includes a loss of pay if an unvaccinated player contracts COVID-19 and can’t fulfill their duties as a player.

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In Edmonton, GM Ken Holland spoke to media today and revealed that the club has one unvaccinated player. While the player’s identity was not revealed, Holland pulled back the curtain a bit on how significant the impact would be on a Canadian NHL club that has an unvaccinated player on their roster.

If a player is unvaccinated and the team goes to the United States, he must quarantine when he comes back to Canada, Holland said. “It’s going to make it very difficult.”

An unvaccinated player would miss about 30 days due to cross-border 14-day quarantines, Holland said, adding that the player might not be ready to play after being out, and if the team was performing well, that they might not want to change their lineup. Oilers coach Dave Tippett and Holland met with the player and looked at how many times the team would cross the border this year. “It’s going to be very difficult,” added Holland.

Although there were reports early this morning that Travis Hamonic would not be at training camp due to a COVID protocols-related absence, GM Jim Benning said he expects the veteran rearguard to be present when the Canucks hit the ice at the Abbotsford Centre.