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WHL players, staff must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, league says

CALGARY – The Western Hockey League is making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for its hockey players and personnel.

The WHL announced Monday that effective immediately, all players, referees, operations staff, and office staff must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Managers, coaches, scouts, trainers, equipment managers, consultants, on-ice and off-ice officials, including penalty box attendants; timekeepers and scorekeepers, and anyone else who interacts directly and on a regular basis with players also must be vaccinated.

They’ll have to be immunized at least 14 days prior to the beginning of the 2021 season in October.

WHL Commissioner Ron Robison says the mandate is being introduced to protect players and staff.

“With travel restrictions currently in place with the Canada-U.S. border as well as the province of Manitoba, it is important all players and staff are fully vaccinated in order to be eligible to play a full season in the WHL,” he said.

And while billet homes aren’t covered by the mandate, the WHL is strongly encouraging players to live with families who have been fully immunized.