Toronto relaxes COVID-19 rink rules as winter activities move ‘toward normal’
Updated 4 minutes ago
It was more like a celebration when the puck dropped on overtime, and when the players jumped onto the ice for the last time.
Just minutes before the final buzzer in a historic game, the players on the ice knew that they could put their lives on hold.
It’s the risk of getting infected by Coronavirus – dubbed “the new flu” – in a public space that has made the NHL’s decision to allow NHL hockey to resume in outdoor rinks – and continue on to a full schedule – a little easier for the players.
When the puck dropped on overtime of the Montreal-Boston game in Ottawa on Friday, the players had a sense of relief that they could put their lives on hold.
“We kind of went through it in the locker room after overtime,” forward Brad Marchand said. “Just a little bit nervous but not nervous at all.”
The sense of relief was the result of the NHL’s decision to allow indoor hockey games to continue during the pandemic.
The NHL made the decision following a recommendation from the NHL’s advisory committee on the Coronavirus pandemic.
The group issued a unanimous recommendation on “removing all rules prohibiting or limiting public gatherings.” The group’s recommendations were approved at a time when Canada was preparing to host the Olympic Winter Games.
“The Committee is confident that a return to play in the outdoor rinks will continue to contribute to public health during this pandemic,” the recommendations read.
“We also need to ensure that Canadians enjoy and participate in these outdoor rinks in the same way they do with other public gathering places, and that they continue to enjoy activities that support their health and safety,” the recommendations added.
“We believe that, in the absence of public gatherings, the open nature of outdoor rinks is very important for Canadian families, and Canadians’ overall enjoyment of outdoor rinks.”
So far, there is no indication the NHL has any intention to eliminate outdoor rinks entirely.
“We need to make