Eight Red Deer Rebels players and staff tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the WHL to postpone several games and pause all team activities.
The Western Hockey League announced on Monday a pause on all team activities for the Rebels, as well as the Edmonton Oil Kings ad Moose Jaw Warriors
This stems from multiple players and staff being added to the WHL COVID-19 protocol list due to having symptoms or testing positive for COVID-19.
The WHL is working in consultation with the league’s Chief Medical Office, pausing all team activities for these three teams, including on-ice practices and off-ice training, pending further test results. Additional test results are pending and the WHL will provide further information when it is available.
“While we’re disappointed for all involved, yesterday’s developments were not surprising given the external environment,” said Rebels owner/president/general manager Brent Sutter.
“Those who have tested positive are experiencing only minor symptoms, with players and hockey staff currently in isolation. We’ll work with the WHL and AHS on what the next steps look like.”
As of Monday, a total of eight Rebels players and team staff had tested positive for COVID-19.
No other WHL Clubs, besides these three teams, are impacted at this time, league officials confirmed.
The following five WHL Regular Season Games have been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date:
Friday, Jan. 7: Edmonton at Red Deer and Moose Jaw at Lethbridge
Saturday, Jan. 8: Lethbridge at Red Deer and Moose Jaw at Medicine Hat
Sunday, Jan. 9: Edmonton at Medicine Hat
The Rebels will announce rescheduled dates in the coming weeks. Fans are encouraged to hold on to their tickets for both postponed games, as they will be valid for the new game dates once they have been determined.
The health and safety of all WHL participants is the top priority, states the WHL. In order to reduce the risk of exposure to and transmission of COVID-19, the WHL requires all roster players, hockey operations staff, and other team and league office personnel to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a Health Canada approved vaccine.
In accordance with WHL policy, the Rebels will not be identifying the sick players concerned. The Rebels will continue to provide updates as they become available.