Canucks in midst of NHL's worst Covid-19 outbreak

Vancouver (AFP) –


The number of Covid-19 cases within the Vancouver Canucks organization continued to climb on Sunday with more than half the players and coaches reportedly having tested positive.

More players' names were added to the team's Covid-19 protocol list on Sunday, bringing the total to 16 with Canadian sports broadcaster TSN reporting that ailing players' symptoms include dehydration, cramping and vomiting with some family members also becoming ill.

"Our players, coaches and their families are grateful for the messages and we all hope for a return to full health as soon as possible," the Canucks said in a statement Sunday.

"Our focus continues to be on the health of everyone involved and we are thankful for the extraordinary health care and guidance we have received from our team's medical staff, BC's health officials and from the NHL and NHLPA medical experts."

League officials on Saturday issued a memo to all teams directing them to remain "vigilant" and to adhere to the guidelines such as wearing masks and not going to restaurants.

The Canucks were scheduled to resume play on Thursday but that will almost certainly be pushed back because of what is now the league's worst coronavirus outbreak for a team this season.

The Vancouver region has become a powder keg for the P1 variant that ravaged Brazil and recently forced a shutdown of the world-renowned Whistler ski resort, north of Vancouver. Vancouver was allowing indoor dining up until just a few weeks ago.

British Columbia experienced a record surge last week, with 2,000 new cases announced in British Columbia on Saturday evening.

Unlike some US hospitals, Canadian health officials are closely monitoring which virus variants are spreading through the community. Experts say the P1 variant is more contagious and in some cases more deadly.

The Canucks drama began on Tuesday when 24-year-old forward Adam Gaudette was told to leave practice following a positive test result. American Gaudette was joined on the Covid-19 protocol list by Travis Hamonic on Thursday.

Gaudette's wife, Micaela, tweeted Thursday: "My hubby isn't in great shape but I'm taking good care of him!"

By Friday, Swede Alexander Edler, Braden Holtby, Quinn Hughes, Zack MacEwen and France's Antoine Roussel were all added to the list. From there the list kept growing.

After further testing and contact tracing, Travis Boyd, Thatcher Demko, Jayce Hawryluk, Bo Horvat, Tyler Motte, Tyler Myers, and Brandon Sutter were added on Saturday. Jalen Chatfield and Germany's Marc Michaelis were added Sunday.