Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews tested positive for COVID-19, according to Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun. Friday continues to be a bad news for the NHL and other sports regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, as the Lightning confirmed that three players and a number of staffers also recently tested positive.
Simmons references two “NHL sources outside Toronto” for the breaking news regarding Matthews testing positive for COVID-19. This makes sense, as Matthews has been staying in Arizona. (More on that in a moment.) Simmons reports that members of the Arizona Coyotes may also have tested positive for COVID-19.
Frederik Andersen had also been staying with Matthews in Arizona. Simmons reports that Andersen tested negative for COVID-19 and is no longer staying with Matthews, though.
The Maple Leafs responded to the report later on Friday. For the most part, the Maple Leafs basically provided a “no comment.” That said, the phrasing “a person’s medical information in this regard is private” feels pretty pointed:
While COVID-19 is halting such matters, the pauses seem temporary at the moment.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie indicated that the Lightning will attempt to resume Phase 2 if others don’t test positive. Simmons reports that Matthews is going into self quarantine with the hope of being able to travel and participate in Maple Leafs training camp around July 10.
Auston Matthews tests positive for COVID-19 in Arizona, a state hit hard
It’s worth circling back to the point that Matthews is located in Arizona.
Much like Florida, Arizona is a state that’s currently dealing with a troubling spike in COVID-19 cases. On Friday alone, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 3,246 new cases, and 41 deaths. This bumps Arizona’s total cases to 46,689 and total deaths to 1,312.
Despite all of this, Arizona and other states attempt to go “back to normal.” And, at least for now, the NHL seems committed to trying to return to play with an ambitious 24-team, two-hub city playoff format.
Seeing a star of Auston Matthews’ stature reportedly test positive for COVID-19 makes it all seem that much tougher to pull off. But we’ll see.
NHL announces 11 total positive tests
Meanwhile, the league is apparently taking over announcing any positive tests. On Friday, a release stated that since Phase 2 opened over 200 player have been tested and 11 came back positive.
NHL statement on Phase 2 testing. pic.twitter.com/2FBhgdbFsP
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 19, 2020
Follow this NBC News live update thread for more on the coronavirus pandemic.
OTHER NHL TEAMS, PLAYERS TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19:
- Lightning players, staff test positive for COVID-19, pausing Phase 2.
- Penguins player tested positive, now recovered
- Multiple Avalanche players tested positive
- Senators also dealt with outbreaks
- Former NHL player Georges Laraque dealt with COVID-19