Canucks need clearance from Provincial Health Authority to resume operations

The Vancouver Canucks are heading in the right direction in the wake of the worst COVID-19 outbreak of the NHL season but still have a way to go before they’ll be back in action. 

Canucks general manager Jim Benning told reporters on Friday that players who tested positive for the coronavirus are “mostly on the other side” of illnesses even if family members are still experiencing virus bouts. Team physician Dr. Jim Bovard also offered an update and said no player required hospitalization: 

It was previously reported at least one sick player needed an IV at his home last weekend. Eighteen active players, three players from the taxi squad and four staff members tested positive during the outbreak that has hopefully subsided. 

The Canucks haven’t played since losing to the Winnipeg Jets on March 24 and are theoretically running out of time to finish a 56-game regular-season schedule even though the NHL has already pushed the final day of the campaign back from May 8 to May 11 at the earliest. “There will be more meetings between our doctors, the league and the NHLPA to discuss the situation, and they are going to figure out when the facilities will be able to re-open and when we will be able to continue with our schedule and complete all 56 games,” Benning added. 

On Thursday, deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN’s Emily Kaplan the league remains hopeful the Canucks could play as soon as the end of next week. However, Bovard explained the club must receive clearance from the Provincial Health Authority to reopen its facilities and resume skating sessions and training. Every day that doesn’t happen will likely push Vancouver’s return date back even further into April. 

Benning will speak with media members again after Monday’s trade deadline. 

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