NHL will stop testing asymptomatic, vaccinated players after All-Star break

NHL players will not be participating at the 2022 Winter Olympics after all due to growing COVID-19 concerns. (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

The NHL and NHLPA announced Tuesday they have agreed to stop testing asymptomatic and fully vaccinated players and staff members for COVID-19 after the All-Star break.

The NHL reported 160 players went into COVID protocol from Dec. 29-Jan. 11. Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi is reportedly the only player in the NHL not vaccinated against COVID-19.

The NHL All-Star festivities are Feb. 4 and 5. The skills competition is Friday, Feb. 4, followed by the 3-on-3 All-Star tournament on Saturday, Feb. 5.

Here are the COVID protocol changes announced by the league and players’ union on Tuesday, Jan. 18:

Five-Day Isolation Period: The isolation period Protocol update issued Dec. 29 appears to be functioning well in its current form. A significant portion of Players appear to be exiting isolation after five days (previous protocol was 10 days), with a lab-based PCR test that has a CT value less than 30.

Testing Protocol: The plan is to continue the current testing Protocol through Feb. 3. Provided positive test results continue to decline within the NHL, and pending review and agreement by Jan. 31 by the NHL’s and NHLPA’s medical experts, the Protocol will be updated as follows:

  • There will be no testing of Fully Vaccinated Players and Staff during the All-Star break (including for participating Players and staff), unless needed for travel or development of symptoms.
  • There will be a single test upon re-entry to Club facilities post-All-Star, after which there will no longer be asymptomatic testing, or testing of Fully Vaccinated close contacts.
  • Thereafter, testing will continue only on a limited “for cause” basis in Fully Vaccinated Players and Staff who develop symptoms or require testing for cross-border travel.
  • The post-COVID “testing holiday” will remain at 90 days, but symptom-based testing can still be done at the team physician’s discretion. Testing for cross-border travel post-COVID will be dictated by the relevant health authority, which is currently 90 days for entry to the U.S. and 180 days for entry to Canada.

Enhanced Measures: The current enhanced preventive measures will remain in place in the short term. The NHLPA and NHL will meet on Jan. 31 to make recommendations for relaxation of the enhanced measures, providing rates continue to decline within the NHL.

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