NHL says 27 players tested positive for COVID-19 during training camps

Sunil Kumar

The NHL announced that 27 players had confirmed positive COVID-19 tests during training camps, which concluded Tuesday.

Of those players, 17 were members of the Dallas Stars, who shut down their training facilities last Friday after an outbreak. Dallas’ first three games — at Florida on Thursday and Friday and at Tampa Bay on Sunday — have been postponed. The defending Western Conference champions are now tentatively set to open at the Lightning on Jan. 19 in a Stanley Cup Final rematch.

The NHL said most of the Dallas players were asymptomatic and that all of them “are currently recovering without complication.”

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said this week that the Stars will be able to play when they can put a competitive team on the ice “without jeopardizing the health and safety of players.”

The league opens its 56-game 2020-21 regular season on Wednesday.

Training camp tests were administered during a two-week period from Dec. 30 through Jan. 11. Approximately 12,000 tests were administered to over 1,200 players.

The identities of the players who tested positive in the preseason were not revealed. That policy changes in the regular season, when any player with a confirmed positive test, or a player who is being held out due to contact-tracing concerns, will be named publicly.

“The purpose of having the protocols isn’t so we can punish people,” commissioner Gary Bettman said. “The purpose of having the protocols is to keep everybody as safe and healthy as possible. We’re seeing compliance virtually throughout the league. The testing numbers have been very good.”

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