NHL COVID news, updates: Canadiens to play without fans in arena

nhl covid
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As Thursday’s NHL schedule gets under way here are updates on COVID-19 situations, highlighted by the Montreal Canadiens hosting the Philadelphia Flyers without fans in attendance at the Bell Centre.

Canadiens host Flyers without fans in attendance at Bell Centre

The Canadiens will host the Flyers in an empty arena game at the request of Quebec public health officials. Along with Thursday’s game against the Flyers, the Hans noted that an update about Saturday’s Bruins game will be provided on Friday.

Generally, it seems like the hope is that fans can return to Canadiens home games in January. The team noted that in this portion of their statement:

We have obtained assurances that beginning with our games in January, we will return to a partial capacity scenario and be able to host fans once more. More details will follow in the days to come and as the portrait of this ever-evolving pandemic becomes clearer.

NHL COVID updates including additional Flames, Devils’ Subban, and more

On Wednesday, the NHL announced enhanced COVID-19 protocols for all 32 teams through at least Jan. 7. As the Canadiens show, some teams/regions will introduce additional steps beyond the NHL’s enhanced COVID-19 protocols.

Here are additional to the NHL COVID-19 protocol list from Thursday.

At the moment, Flames’ games have been postponed through at least Saturday (Dec. 18).

[MORE: Quarantine concerns loom over NHL participation in Olympics]

Other notes

Nine games have been postponed and more than 130 players have entered NHL protocol this season.

The Omicron variant has been found in some positive test results. All but one current player is vaccinated and many have already received booster shots. Vaccination is not mandated, but encouraged.

There are no indications that the league is planning a shutdown. There is a three-day break coming next week over Christmas, but regularly-scheduled games will be played through Dec. 23 barring any more outbreaks.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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