NHL adding new COVID-19 protocols for teams to follow

The glass has been removed behind the benches, and all meetings must be virtual
By and WGR 550 SportsRadio and NewsRadio 1120 KMOX

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - The National Hockey League is making changes to its COVID-19 protocols. This coming after recent outbreaks with the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils and Minnesota Wild.

Among the notable changes that the league will implement is that players and coaches will not be allowed to arrive at games more than one hour and 45 minutes early. In addition, no meetings can happen at the arena and must be done virtually.

The league wants, at least, six feet in-between home and visiting locker stalls, so teams must provide additional space. That is similar to what the Toronto Blue Jays did in Buffalo, where the Blue Jays had both locker rooms and built one for the visiting teams out in right field.

On Wednesday the St. Louis Blues announced the Feb. 9 game between the Blues and Wild has been postponed, due to all Wild games being postponed through at least Tuesday, Feb. 9 after five additional Wild players were added to the NHL's COVID protocol related absence list.

Sportsnet hockey insider Elliotte Friedman said teams have one week to get their plans for this into the league.

The glass behind both benches has been removed, providing for better circulation.

Friedman also said that the league is considering asking teams to provide portable air cleaners behind the benches to improve indoor air quality and airborne transmission.

The Sabres have Rasmus Ristolainen, Taylor Hall, Brandon Montour and Tobi Rieder in NHL's COVID-19 protocols. It is still unclear if all four players have tested positive for COVID-19, or they have been deemed as close contacts of anyone that has tested positive for the virus.

Meanwhile, head coach Ralph Krueger has tested positive for COVID-19, as the team announced on Thursday.

The Blues are expected to be back on ice Thursday night against the Arizona Coyotes in St. Louis.