The NHL will stop testing asymptomatic players, coaches and staff who are fully vaccinated following the All-Star break in early February, saying coronavirus cases continue to decline across the league.
The league and Players’ Association announced the protocol changes Tuesday. The current policy will remain in place until the All-Star break begins Feb. 3.
There will still be testing of asymptomatic individuals when it is needed for crossing the U.S.-Canada border. Testing will not be required at All-Star Weekend, with one negative result needed to return to team facilities after the break.
The NHL and NHLPA agreed to keep the five-day isolation period that went into effect Dec. 29, a reduction from 10 after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control updated its COVID-19 guidance. The league and union will review protocols, including enhanced rules that are currently in place, on Jan. 31 as long as cases keep declining.
A total of 160 players went into COVID protocol from Dec. 29-Jan. 11 after 208 in the two weeks prior to the chance. All players on active rosters are vaccinated except for Detroit's Tyler Bertuzzi.
So far this season, 104 games have been postponed, including several because of attendance restrictions in Canada. The league is expected to announce a wave of rescheduled games Wednesday, including many getting moved into the two weeks that had previously been set aside for the Olympics.
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Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press