Over the past week, the ever-changing dynamic of the state of the Vancouver Canucks has gone from bad to worse following a mass COVID-19 breakout within the organization.
Something that had seemingly stayed put within the three American-based NHL divisions for 2020-21 (with a few exceptions) worked its way into the Canadian spotlight in late-March, as the Montreal Canadiens fell under the microscope with former Winnipeg Jets forward Joel Armia testing positive for a variant of the coronavirus.
Facilities were shut down, players stayed away from both the rink and one another, while games were also postponed. Just one week later, the situation moved west, as Vancouver’s Adam Gaudette tested positive for COVID-19, while Jake Virtanen pulled himself from team activities as he reported “feeling ill”.
The Canucks then revealed a number of further positive cases, involving members of the coaching and training staff. That number continued to grow by the day, with reports surfacing that this wide-spread infection also had many players testing positive for a variant as well.
On Easter morning, TSN’s Darren Dreger painted a grim picture of the current situation in British Columbia. He also posted later in the day that one additional player had been added to the COVID-19 reserve for Sunday. According to Dreger, upwards of 20 members of the Canucks’ 52-member party had tested positive.
Number of positive cases climbing within the Vancouver Canucks. More than 20 players/coaches combined have tested positive. Variant symptoms include vomiting, cramping and dehydration. Family members are getting it. Scary situation. Next 5-7 days will determine scheduling.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) April 4, 2021
In speaking with one player from the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday afternoon, Game On learned that despite the many challenges exhibited by the players, team members and families involved, the situation involving the Canucks isn’t quite as ghastly as it may have been painted out to be.
Not to downplay the symptoms and/or responses that his teammates and family members are experiencing, the Canucks player (who chose to speak on condition of anonymity) mentioned that he feels the situation has been blown slightly out of proportion by the media.
Mentioning teammate Travis Hamonic by name, the Canucks player said “everyone is going to be fine” in due time.
I just had a conversation with one of the members of the Vancouver #Canucks who has been listed on the COVID-19 reserve.
He tells me things overall aren’t as bad as the media has been making it seem.
He also says Travis Hamonic and his family are doing well.
🙏🏼 Happy Easter 🙏🏼
— Carter Brooks (@CBrooksie84) April 4, 2021
Interestingly, the Canucks do have a number of players with enthralling stories listed on the team’s COVID-19 reserve. Quite possibly the scariest is that of Hamonic, who opted out of the NHL’s 2019-20 return-to-play last summer, as his young daughter had just battled through a respiratory illness, to which he penned a letter to Flames fans explaining his choice to put his family first.
The pride of St. Malo, Manitoba has now caught COVID-19, much like the majority of his teammates.
Fellow Manitoban Jayce Hawryluk is also marked down on the team’s COVID list. Hawryluk’s story may even be more daunting than Hamonic’s. After having already dealt with a bout of COVID-19 back in March and April of 2020, the 25-year-old Roblin, Manitoba product has since been diagnosed with Brazilian variant P.1 for his second round of he virus.
Hawryluk openly discussed his experience with COVID-19 back at the start of April 2020 with Game On:
A few folks have informed me that this story from a few months ago has begun to recirculate
'I Scored and I Got COVID' – Robin, Manitoba's Jayce Hawryluk goes one-on-one in @GameOnHockey on his battle with COVID-19
— Carter Brooks (@CBrooksie84) July 14, 2020
Also included on the Canucks’ COVID-19 reserve is defenceman Tyler Myers. Back in 2017, the former Winnipeg Jets blueliner and wife Michela unexpectedly welcomed their son Tristan into the world five weeks earlier than anticipated.
Arriving with just 20 percent of his required blood – as a result of a fetal-maternal hemorrhage – Tristan Myers pulled through, surviving a scary first few months out of the womb. While still in hospital, he battled a pulmonary hemorrhage, seizures and a stroke, but has rebounded and is currently living the ‘normal’ toddler lifestyle in Vancouver.
With the NHL expected to announce further modifications to the Canucks’ schedule in the coming days, extended shut-downs should not come as a surprise to any.
Having already seen over 100K COVID-19 cases in British Columbia since the beginning of the pandemic, the province’s Saturday bulletin saw over 1,000 new cases on back-to-back days for the first time. BC also registered a pandemic-high 917-case weekly average on Saturday, while over 6,000 cases were reported over the past week.
Of the 2,090 new cases from Thursday to Saturday in BC, 709 stemmed from the Vancouver Coastal Health Region, while 1,052 came from the Fraser Health Region. The remaining 329 cases came from the Island, Interior and Northern Health Regions.
At the moment, the Canucks have seen four total games against the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets postponed, with the League originally hoping to have the club return to game action on April 8. Shedding light on the recent developments, that date will undoubtedly be pushed back at least a week. Vancouver is currently scheduled to face off against the Flames on April 8 and 10 and Oilers on April 12 and 14.