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The Vancouver Canucks will play their first game on Friday since shutting down on March 24 because of a massive COVID-19 outbreak, but star forward J.T. Miller is questioning just how safe it is for them to return to the ice.
The Canucks will have 30 days to play 19 games in order to complete the 56-game schedule, but Miller told reporters on Wednesday that mad dash to finish out the season compromises player safety.
CANUCKS IDENTIFY SOURCES OF COVID OUTBREAK AS 21 PLAYERS TEST POSITIVE
“What we’re being asked to do is not going to be too safe, if you’re asking me,” Miller said. “It’s kind of frustrating, if I’m being honest with you. We try to talk about the No. 1 priority being the players health and their families’ safety, and it’s almost impossible to do what they’ve asked us to do here on our return.”
The team issued a statement last week confirming that 18 players from the main roster, three players from the taxi squad and four staff members have tested positive for a variant of the virus since March 31, when the first case was reported.
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“An ongoing investigation by Vancouver Coastal Health and club contact tracing staff attributes the source infection to a single individual obtained in a community setting, which has since been identified by public health as a public exposure location,” the statement read.
A total of 22 players tested positive. On Wednesday only seven players were still on the NHL COVID list, Yahoo Sports reported.
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“I know everyone has a job to do but to expect our entire team to be ready to play in one practice and a pre-game skate is a little bit hard to comprehend,” Miller added.
“I hope people don’t take this the wrong way, I’m a super competitive guy, but this isn’t about hockey for our team. This is about the health and safety of our players, their family and their children. This isn’t about making the playoffs.”
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