Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller said it would be “very challenging and not very safe” for him and his teammates to play as scheduled on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller said it would be “very challenging and not very safe” for him and his teammates to play as scheduled on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Canucks’ return to ice postponed again after players voice COVID health concerns

Friday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers was called off after the team met virtually with the NHLPA

The Vancouver Canucks’ return from their COVID-19 outbreak has been halted – Friday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers has been postponed.

The Canucks had a Zoom meeting with the NHLPA on Wednesday evening to discuss their return after forward J.T. Miller spoke out earlier in the day.

The team was set to hit the ice Thursday for their first team practice since a COVID-19 outbreak swept through the group.

Miller said it would be “very challenging and not very safe” for him and his teammates to play as scheduled on Friday because the team has not had enough time to recover and get back in shape.

The forward did not test positive for COVID-19 during the outbreak but said he still isn’t in game shape and can’t imagine what it would be like for his teammates who were sick to try to get back to a high level of play so quickly.

“It’s kind of frustrating if I’m being 100 per cent honest with you,” Miller said.

“We try to talk about the No. 1 priority is the players’ health and the families’ safety, and it’s almost impossible to achieve that with what they’ve asked us to do here on our return.”

At least 21 players and four members of the Canucks coaching staff have tested positive for the virus since March 30.

Vancouver has not played since March 24 and eight of its games have been postponed due to the outbreak.

Oilers captain Connor McDavid said it’ll be difficult for the Canucks to come back whether they get one practice in before playing or three. It’s important to make sure the players’ health and safety is looked after, he said.

“Obviously a very dangerous situation and we’re hopeful that they can come out of it and everyone can be healthy and fit to play at some point. Whether that’s (Friday), that’s out of our control,” McDavid said. “So I think at this point, we prepare as if we’re going. And if we don’t get on the plane, than we prepare for a big game in Winnipeg on Saturday.”

Seven Canucks remained on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list Wednesday, including defencemen Jalen Chatfield, Alex Edler and Nate Schmidt and forwards Jayce Hawryluk, Nils Hoglander, Zack MacEwen and Jake Virtanen.

A player on the protocol list has not necessarily tested positive. Players who are in self-isolation after travelling or who’ve been in close contact with someone who tested positive, for example, are also on the list.

The list does not include team staff or players not on the active roster, including those on the taxi squad.

Medical experts are still learning about the long-term impacts of the virus, especially when it comes to high-performance athletes, said Dr. Andrew Morris, an infectious disease expert at the University of Toronto.

“It is a lung disease and we know that one of the more common things that people experience, apart from just general fatigue is people do have — for several months, perhaps longer, it varies — ongoing respiratory complaints like shortness of breath as well as just exercise intolerance,” he said.

Other athletes who have tested positive for COVID-19 have talked about how difficult it was to get back into top shape, including Fred VanVleet of the Toronto Raptors.

The guard said he suffered from a sore back, sore eyes, body aches and a headache after contracting the virus earlier this year.

It’s not surprising that athletes would have a hard time coming back from COVID-19, Morris said.

“Many people, many patients, regardless of whether they’re professional athletes or not, will do totally fine. The majority of people do totally fine,” he said. “But there are people who win lotteries. And if you win the lottery and you’re unlucky enough to be hit hard by it, you could have lingering effects that last for months, for sure.”

Canucksvancouver canucks

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two vehicles were involved in a collision around 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Main Street and Industrial intersection. (Jesse Day - Western News)
Traffic slow after collision at Main and Industrial in Penticton

Two vehicles were involved and first responders are on scene

RCMP. (Black Press File)
BREAKING: Major Crimes called in after two bodies discovered in Naramata

A manhunt involving a police helicopter took place on May 10

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

Cpl. Laurie Rock of the Penticton RCMP with other participants at the SOWINS Walk to End Abuse at the 2019 Walk where $50,000 was raised. (Mark Brett - Western News file photo)
Walk with your bubble June 13 to stop violence against women in Penticton

SOWINS says the pandemic has amplified the risk of abuse to women and children

Sisters Audrey Cunningham and Donna Erdman, join the Vernon Kalamalka Chorus singing in their cars, tuned into the radio, under the direction of Debbie Parmenter. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
VIDEO: Okanagan choir steers around COVID with ‘carbershop’ twist

Singers find a unique way to practice during pandemic restrictions

A Falkland man will present a 600+ signature petition to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District board Thursday, May 20, opposing dog control in Electoral Area D, which includes Falkland, Silver Creek, Salmon Valley and Ranchero/Deep Creek. (File photo)
600-plus sign Falkland man’s petition against dog control

Similar bylaw rejected by 200 public hearing attendees when topic came up 9 years ago

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Notes of hope, encouragement and camaraderie were left on the message board inside the kitchen of TacoTime. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Adiós, Taco Tuesday: Kelowna residents flock to TacoTime on restaurant’s final day

‘We don’t need another Starbucks. We need tacos on Tuesday, with extra hot sauce’

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham promotes the government’s BuyBC food program in 2019. (B.C. government)
Money running out for fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in B.C. schools

‘Looking at ways to support this type of program,’ minister says

Most Read