NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly revealed that the league expects at least 98% of its players to be vaccinated by the start of the new season. Furthermore, the league projects that only 10 to 15 players will not be fully inoculated by October 12, the date when the 2021-22 season commences.
While the league itself and the NHL Players Association did not look to impose a vaccinate mandate on its players, many were convinced to vaccinate due to travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada, which may include the potential of not being able to cross the border without going into quarantine.
Should there be any health protocols that stipulate so, the NHL could potentially suspend unvaccinated players if they do not qualify to participate in certain activities. In addition, fully vaccinated players who test positive for COVID-19 will have their illness treated as a hockey injury and still be paid.
Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty explained that the possibility of losing pay and other benefits has swayed numerous players in the direction of getting inoculated against coronavirus. “I think that’s been an incentive and a motivator for most players to become fully vaccinated, even if they had concerns about it.”