The Calgary Flames are officially the National Hockey League’s latest team to fall victim to the seemingly never-ending COVID-19 global pandemic.
With seven members of the club entering the NHL’s COVID protocols within a 24-hour period, the league has stepped in and shut down operations for the foreseeable future. Three games over the next four days have been postponed, including road contests in Chicago (Monday), Nashville (Tuesday) and a home date with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday.
As of December 13, 123 total players – or 17 percent of the entire league – have now spent time on the NHL’s COVID protocol reserve.
“Due to concern with continued spread, and the likelihood of additional positive cases in the coming days, the team’s games will be postponed at least through Thursday, Dec. 16,” the NHL said in a league-wide release. “The decision was made following consultation by the NHL’s, the NHLPA’s and club’s medical groups.”
It was announced that six players, including forwards Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane, Brad Richardson and Adam Ruzicka and defencemen Chris Tanev and Nikita Zadorov were placed into league protocol alongside one staff member following positive tests.
“As an appropriate precaution, the team’s training facilities have been closed, effective immediately, and will remain closed for players until further notice,” the release continued. “The league is in the process of reviewing and revising the Flames regular season schedule. The Flames organization has followed, and will continue to follow, all recommended guidelines aimed at protecting the health and safety of its players, staff and community at large as set by the NHL, local, provincial and national agencies.”
This makes Calgary the third team league-wide to be facing postponement so far through one-third of the 2021-22 season. Previously, the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders saw team activities shut down following the November spread of the virus through their respective clubs.
The Flames are currently in second place in the Pacific Division while sporting a 15-7-6 record through 28 games.