April 21th, 2021 ~ Vol. 91 No. 16
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Simply Selles by David Selles
 
David Selles
Pass Herald Reporter
This week will be another sports related column.

I want to talk about the effects of Covid-19 on the sports world.

It seems like a lifetime ago when sports were originally halted due to the first cases appearing in North America.

I still remember the night the NBA cancelled a game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz right before tip off.

That instantly spiraled into the league shutting down, which lead to other leagues like the NHL and MLB and MLS following suit.
It was disappointing at the time but I think everyone new it was what needed to be done.

Months later, each league slowly began making their triumphant return.

The NBA returned in a bubble in Orlando along with MLS, the NHL returned in two bubbles in Edmonton and Toronto and MLS made their return travelling the country from ballpark to ballpark.

Each league was successful in dealing with Covid-19 as the bubble leagues saw zero cases once teams were inside.
continued below ...
It was an incredible job by everyone to successfully finish those seasons.

Then came this season.

The bubbles were no more as the MLS, NBA and NHL returned to play in each home city.

For the most part things have gone reasonably well.

That was until my favourite NHL team, the Vancouver Canucks, were rocked with the Brazilian variant. 20 players tested positive for the virus and three coaches also tested positive.

Due to it being a variant, most players were hit with fairly severe symptoms.

Some players said it was the worst they’ve ever felt in their life.

These players are all in the peak physical condition of their lives and most couldn’t get out of bed in the morning.

Adding to the stress of fighting off this virus is that a lot of these players have families.

Brandon Sutter, a forward for the Canucks, was terrified throughout his time fighting Covid as he ended up passing it on to his pregnant wife.

I think most sports fans have been using the return of these sports as a way to distract us from Covid.
continued below ...
We almost forget that these are human beings with families.

That’s why I was so surprised to hear that instead of cancelling the rest of the season for the Canucks, the NHL asked the team to come back and play 19 games in 31 days after only having one day of practice.

Asking players who just fought off an extremely tough respiratory illness to play against other peak athletes who haven’t been sick seemed absurd.

Luckily one player was able to explain that to the NHL.

Forward JT Miller, with the backing of his teammates, made it known to the league that the Canucks players did not feel safe returning to play with only one practice under their belts after three weeks of dealing with Covid.

The NHL did end up rescheduling their games and allowed them more time to return to form.

While the players said they still aren’t 100 per cent healthy, the Canucks returned to action on Sunday night and beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 in overtime.

While I’m glad to be able to watch my favourite team in action again, I’m just hoping forcing these players back into action this soon doesn’t mean they are affected further down the road in their careers and lives.
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April 21th, 2021 ~ Vol. 91 No. 16
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