If professional sports locker rooms really are a microcosm of society as a whole, then you better believe there are some NHL captains who spent their offseason begging teammates to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
It doesn’t appear Patrice Bergeron was one of them.
The NHL expects to have just a handful of players unvaccinated when the season begins, but a number of teams, including the Boston Bruins, are fully vaccinated. When the vaccine became available during last season, the Bruins tried to give players time to get the jab, and it appears a number of them obliged.
That was months ago, and, obviously, anyone who didn’t get the vaccine then did at some point this summer, which was done without Bergeron constantly appealing to his teammates.
“Nope. There were no meetings about it,” Bergeron said Wednesday over Zoom. “I think everybody was on board and did it organically, if you will, for their own beliefs and for themselves and their families.”
Ultimately, players who choose to be unvaccinated will play this season by completely different rules. Personal choice is personal choice, but the private business that is the NHL has taken a hardline stance that if someone chooses not to get the shot, they will be putting their team at a competitive disadvantage.
Those confirmed to be unvaccinated include Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi and Columbus Blue Jackets veteran Zac Rinaldo, the latter of whom was sent to AHL camp for being unvaccinated. Columbus also canned an assistant coach for not getting the vaccine. In addition, the Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey Devils each have an unvaccinated player, which the teams did not name.
However, with the way the protocols are, it will be apparent relatively quickly who isn’t vaccinated.