Amid Phase 2 of the NHL’s Return to Play plan, we have a report of a Toronto Maple Leaf testing positive while training south of the border.
The report is pending confirmation from the club, league, player or his agent. Throughout the NHL, dating back to March, we’ve seen confirmed positive cases in Tampa Bay, Boston, Pittsburgh, Colorado, and Ottawa, without the identity of the players being released by their respective clubs or the local media. It should be left to the club and player’s discretion as to what is disclosed about the identity of the individual and details of his private medical situation. This being the Toronto sports media market — with its ugly history of reporters digging into players’ private medical information — it’s probably not particularly surprising a name has leaked with this news today.
According to the Toronto Sun, the player reportedly contracted COVID-19 along with an unknown number of other players who were training together in a small-group environment in the state of Arizona — a current COVID-19 hotspot similar to Florida, where it was announced today that three Tampa Bay Lightning players and two additional staff have tested positive.
First and foremost, if it’s true, our thoughts are with the player’s health at his time as we all pray for a full recovery with no lasting ill effects.
There are so many questions that come to mind here and we likely won’t have too many answers forthcoming today. We can expect an announcement from the club sometime soon. This news breaking today is already a violation of it, but the individual’s medical situation deserves respect and privacy.
Not that the possible season resumption is the important news here, but in terms of a plan for the player returning to Toronto ahead of the projected (hopeful) opening of training camp on July 10, his current recovery and quarantine situation likely puts those plans on hold.
In addition to the larger discussion of whether the NHL should really be charting its current course toward season resumption, today’s news across the league also brings to light the issue of whether its personnel should be allowed to return from American states and other countries — where the numbers are considerably more alarming than in Canada — without the typical quarantine protocol remaining in place. Pending the Governor General’s signature, the federal government recently gave the green light on a “cohort quarantine” for the NHL, where league members would be allowed to bypass the 14-day quarantine upon entering Canada.
Toronto Maple Leafs Release Statement (Update: 7 p.m. EST, June 19)
Per the National Hockey League protocol with respect to COVID-19, the Toronto Maple Leafs will not be commenting on reports surrounding test of any of the club’s players or staff. A person’s medical information in this regard is private. The Club will defer to the NHL’s policy on handling the disclosure of positive test results, in that the League will provide updates on a regular basis with aggregate totals of the number of tests conducted and the number of positive tests reported without disclosing either the identities of affected Clubs or Players.
National Hockey League Statement: 11 Positive Cases thus far in Phase 2 (Update: 7:45 p.m. EST, June 19)
NHL statement on Phase 2 testing. pic.twitter.com/2FBhgdbFsP
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 19, 2020