The Colorado Avalanche players deserve to make their own choice in playing or not for the Stanley Cup within health guidelines.
The Colorado Avalanche had three players test positive for COVID-19 back when the NHL pause first began. Since then, the team hasn’t confirmed any more positive tests.
The NHL, however, has confirmed more positive tests:
As part of the Phase 2 response to the COVID-19 crisis, players are getting tested regularly while they access team practice facilities. According to the press release above, 15 of the 250 players tested have produced confirmed positive tests.
Under Phase 2, players are allowed to train on non-team facilities as an alternative. Presumably their decision to get tested is also voluntary. According to the statement, an additional 11 players tested positive, which makes the total 26. There is no information on how many players got tested voluntarily.
If you scroll down the tweet or look at any chat about Return to Play, you’ll find fans who are screaming some version of “The NHL is only in it for the money. They won’t be happy until a player dies.”
The first part is absolutely true. The NHL has never branded itself as a charitable organization. The league and the owners are in it for the money. The players are in it for the glory and the money. And the love of the game — I’ll give you that.
Actually, the vast majority if not 100% of them are in it to win a Stanley Cup. Otherwise they’d be playing in the KHL — as our own GM says, you can make a lot of dough in the KHL. But the players want to win the Stanley Cup.
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As of right now, with Return to Play on the horizon, 24 teams’ worth of players get the opportunity to realize a dream they’ve held since they were capable of wishing for something. They will get the chance to play for the Stanley Cup.
As for the second part of the lament — the NHL won’t be happy until a player dies — that’s not true. That would be extremely bad PR for the league, and there might even be lawsuits. They most certainly don’t want to see a player die.
I’m sure they don’t want to see a coach, trainer, or staff member die either. Still not good for PR. Still might end up in lawsuits.
Right now, the players are out in the world. There may be some who are laying low. However, many of them are living their lives at parks, lake houses, yachts, beaches, restaurants, golf courses, and all manner of public places. They may be taking precautions, but the majority of them do not appear to be self-isolating anymore.
A big concern for fans — and it is a valid one — is that hockey is a physical sport and spittle can and will be transferred. Like I said, that’s valid.
And that’s why the players will be tested every day during play. It’s why they’ve already been tested 1,450 times. It’s why that will be ramped up as Return to Play gets closer.
Should they be taking up so many tests? I’m not sure about other places, but, as I’ve mentioned before, testing is free and widely available in Colorado.
Here’s the thing: This players have a chance to do something two-fold. They have the opportunity to play for the trophy they’ve trained for and dreamed of their whole lives.
And they have the chance to be a bright spot in people’s worlds.
Between the COVID-19 crisis and on-going protests, the world is an unhappy place. We’re living in historic times, and I don’t mean historically good. We’re all going to be changed by this time.
The players have the chance to be a part of something bigger. They get to be that little bit of sunshine in a dismal year. They truly get to be a part of something that’s a fantasy, an escape from the reality we’re all living through.
This isn’t 1919 when a player did die, from the flu. We’re not in the middle of an industrial revolution or returning from war. We have the technology and the medical advances to keep us safer than they did in 1919.
The players, coaches, trainers, and all relevant staff will be safe in the quarantine bubble — safer than you and I. But that’s ok, because they’ll be providing us with that escape. And they’ll get to be doing what they love most in this world — play hockey. And attempt to win the Stanley Cup.
Ultimately, isn’t it their decision? Wouldn’t it be selfish to take all that away from them?