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NHL Extends Regular Season

Photo Credit Steve Erickson

For the enthusiastic hockey fans who have been patiently awaiting the return for the Vancouver Canucks it’s been like waiting on Gilligan’s Island to be rescued.

We are  hearing that the League just released the return schedule for the Vancouver Canucks who have been given the green light to return to practice April 11th and officially resume play April 16th all depending on the COVID-19 test results.

As one might expect there are 13 new dates for games that are played in the North Division which lists the final game scheduled for May 16th.

Regardless of what some might think about the return; the National Hockey League was focused on the safety of everyone within the Canucks organization.

The Canucks released a statement indicating that they will resume off-ice training as well as what is known as limited individual practice sessions from April 11-13. 

Availability for the media as you can expect will take place over Zoom and begin April 12th while a regular on-ice group practice will resume on April 14th.

The COVID-19 outbreak surrounded the first player to test positive for COVID-19 in which the Canucks officially mentioned that Adam Gaudette was the first on March 30th. 

The Canucks have officially confirmed that a variant was involved in the outbreak, and full genome sequencing was conducted by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control to determine which specific variant.

The NHL postponed Vancouver’s game against the Calgary Flames the following night when D-man Travis Hamonic and a member of the coaching staff were added on the NHL’s COVID protocol list. 

Six Canucks games were postponed when it was revealed that 19 players, three (3) members of the taxi squad and four (4) staff remembers also tested positive for COVID-19. 

The first positive cases were reported following the Canucks six-day break between games which many were hoping for a recovery period for injured players to get healthy again.

Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet reported the outbreak originated in a restaurant.in which according to Health Rules was permitted by BC for indoor dining during the month of March. 

Team physician Dr. Jim Bovard mentioned “It’s not an accident that it occurred when it did with what’s going on in the broader community.” 

He continued “Just like all the other workplaces, everybody is following and trying to follow (safety guidelines) to the best of their ability, all the protocols in place, and we’re no different in that way. But we work and live in the City of Vancouver.

“There’s no culprit here other than the COVID virus itself. Everybody’s been working incredibly hard in the last year trying to avoid getting it, and in spite of their best efforts, this can happen. What I’m seeing going on here in the organization is not much different than what I’ve seen in my own office with people in all walks of life, all workplaces.”

The revised schedule will see Vancouver play their final 19 games over a span of 31 days and listed  below are all of the scheduled changes announced by the NHL.

Following are the changes to the North Division schedule:

Edmonton at Vancouver, scheduled for May 4, is now scheduled for April 16 at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT

Calgary at Vancouver, scheduled for March 31, is now scheduled for April 21 at 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT

Vancouver at Toronto, scheduled for April 30, is now scheduled for April 29 at 7:30 p.m. ET/ 4:30 p.m. PT

Vancouver at Calgary, scheduled for April 10, is now scheduled for May 3 at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT

Vancouver at Edmonton, scheduled for April 3, is now scheduled for May 4 at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT

Vancouver at Edmonton, scheduled for April 12, is now scheduled for May 8 at 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT

Ottawa at Calgary, scheduled for April 20, is now scheduled for May 9 at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT

Vancouver at Winnipeg, scheduled for April 4, is now scheduled for May 10 at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT

Vancouver at Winnipeg, scheduled for April 6, is now scheduled for May 11 at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT

Toronto at Ottawa, scheduled for May 10, is now scheduled for May 12 at 7:30 p.m. ET/ 4:30 p.m. PT

Vancouver at Edmonton, scheduled for April 14, is now scheduled for May 13 at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT

Calgary at Vancouver, scheduled for May 8, is now scheduled for May 15 at TBD

Vancouver at Calgary, scheduled for April 8, is now scheduled for May 16 at TBD

In addition to the games changing dates, two games will now start at new times.

Toronto at Vancouver, scheduled for April 19, is now scheduled to start at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT

Edmonton at Montreal, scheduled May 10, is now scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET