NHL Announces 17 Stars Players Test Positive for COVID-19 Ahead of Season Opener

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2021

FILE - In this June 22, 2016, file photo, the NHL logo is shown during a press conference in Las Vegas. NHL free agency day began with two rivals helping each other out of a jam by way of a trade. The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired defenseman Cody Ceci, a 2020 third-round pick and minor leaguers Ben Harpur and Aaron Luchuk from the Ottawa Senators for defenseman Nikita Zaitsev, forward Connor Brown and minor leaguer Michael Carcone. The teams announced the trade early Monday, roughly 3½ hours before the start of free agency. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
John Locher/Associated Press

The NHL announced Tuesday that 17 players on the Dallas Stars tested positive for COVID-19 in the testing period between Dec. 30 and Jan. 11. 

Per the league's statement, "most" of the Stars who tested positive are asymptomatic and all of the Stars players are "currently recovering without complication."

The NHL also announced Tuesday that 27 players in total around the league had tested positive for the coronavirus in its most recent testing period. 

With training camps concluded, the NHL season is set to begin Wednesday, kicking off with the Philadelphia Flyers facing the Pittsburgh Penguins at 5:30 p.m. ET.

In a statement last week, the NHL said the Stars are not expected to begin their season until Tuesday, Jan. 19, at the earliest. 

The NHL's plan is to host a 56-game schedule for teams, separating the league into four divisions: East, West, Central and North divisions. Teams will only play other divisional teams this season. 

The league's coronavirus protocols are also strict. Per Sean Leahy of NBC Sports, the NHL is requiring "no player carpools, no roommates on the road and no group outings to restaurants or bars. The NHL will require to reserve two extra hotel rooms for away games in case someone tests positive. Once games begin, the NHL will reveal players who test positive. Coaches must wear masks on the bench."

"As far as the surroundings, it's definitely much different," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby told reporters regarding the league's safety protocols. "Making sure you have masks and are socially distancing. There's a lot of rules, a lot of regulations and a lot of things that we have to be aware of here just making sure everyone stays safe and healthy."

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