How are the Flyers handling COVID-19

By Angelica Lara
July 12, 2021

In February the Philadelphia Flyers had to postpone four different games because of COVID-19 regulations. 

On Feb. 9th it was announced that three members of the team, Justin Braun, Claude Giroux and Travis Sanheim, would be unable to play because of the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. Because of this, the Flyers announced four games would be postponed to prevent further spread of COVID-19 to any other players. 

While those postponed games were later played, three of those four games were a loss for the Philadelphia Flyers this season. 

IMG_5703 by Dinur, on Flickr
Flyers game in 2019 prior to COVID-19 shut down

IMG_5703” (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by Dinur

With the fear of COVID-19 spreading rapidly between players there is a long list of rules and limitations players needed to live by for this season. 

These protocols, including the widely known six feet distancing and regularly disinfecting themselves and objects, can be found in the players’ “Arena Restart Protocol 2020/21.”

Gov. Wolf Joins Philadelphia Flyers Orga by governortomwolf, on Flickr
Gritty holding a sign saying “Helloooo Mr.Gov”

Gov. Wolf Joins Philadelphia Flyers Orga” (CC BY 2.0) by governortomwolf

When exercising indoors, a minimum of nine feet should be kept by players, excluding on ice. All meetings are to be conducted virtually for as long as possible and players and staff members are discouraged from socializing to maintain the six feet minimum distance.  

Staff members that have to spend extensive time around players are required to go through daily COVID-19 testing, and each player is tested the day prior to their games to ensure each player is safe to be around others. 

If any players are to test positive or think they might be having COVID-19 symptoms, they are to immediately self isolate until otherwise noted. 

With the large outbreak of COVID-19 that happened, the NHL has included more restrictions and requirements to this list. Players will not only be tested the day before, but will also need to have a rapid test done the day of the game for all players. 

Until the NHL can ensure they will have enough tests for each individual player in each team,  the teams will have to obtain their own rapid testing. Those who were recently positive in the past 90 days are to have their seating resigned and act as “buffers” for other players who have not been infected and are unlikely to have any sort of immunity. 

With many more players being vaccinated, some are looking towards relaxing these protocols for those who are fully vaccinated. This is partly because of the influence of other large groups that have a growing number of fully vaccinated members. 

Sun Belt, for example, recently announced that those employees who are fully vaccinated will not have to go through the regular testing process or be subjected to contact tracing. The NHL has not announced any changes in any of the protocols until all teams have been completely vaccinated. 

The regulations don’t stop at just players and staff, everything else will continue to be restricted by COVID-19 protocols. Everyone attending a game over the age of two must continue to wear face coverings, along with practicing social distancing.

The games also have had to adjust seating because stadiums have to abide by the gathering limitations in each venue. 

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Angelica Lara

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