Report: NHL Won't Test Asymptomatic Players, Staff for COVID-19 After All-Star Break

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 18, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 10: The NHL logo is seen on the back of the net on the ice after the game between the Washington Capitals and the Boston Bruins at Capital One Arena on January 10, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The NHL reportedly will stop testing asymptomatic players for COVID-19 after an agreement between the league and the players association, per Emily Kaplan of ESPN.

The new policy will begin after the upcoming All-Star break on Feb. 4-5.

Players who show symptoms of COVID-19 will still be required to test for the virus, as will full teams who cross the border between the United States and Canada as part of the NHL schedule.

According to Kaplan, 73 percent of players in the NHL have tested positive for COVID at some point in the 2021-22 season. Only one player in the league—Tyler Bertuzzi—is unvaccinated.

The high rate of positive tests has led to extensive rescheduling throughout the season, with over 100 games postponed because of issues related to COVID-19. This includes a league-wide shutdown for several days in December.

The NHL announced last month that players would not be allowed to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China because of "increasing COVID cases and a rising number of postponed games."

The original Feb. 6-22 window for the Olympics will now be used to make up games.

This new policy could allow players to remain in the lineup unless they are showing symptoms, limiting future postponements.

Other sports leagues have adjusted policies this season based on the changing climate around the pandemic. The NFL announced in December it would change from weekly testing to "targeted spot testing," while players were later allowed to return quicker from the COVID-19 list than under the initial protocols based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.