CALGARY, Alberta — The WHL announced Monday that it is instituting a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for its players and staff. Therefore, all members of the Everett Silvertips will need to be vaccinated in order to participate in the upcoming 2021-22 season.
The requirement includes players, hockey operations staff and other team officials. Individuals will need to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to the start of the regular season. The season begins Oct. 1.
The WHL is the last of the Canadian Hockey League’s three member leagues to institute a vaccination requirement. The OHL and QMJHL announced their requirements in late July, while the WHL delayed before making its call.
“The health and safety of our players and staff continues to be the number one priority for the WHL,” league commissioner Ron Robison said in a press release. “The policy is designed to further protect our players and staff in the WHL from the potential risk of exposure to COVID-19.
“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.”
The Canada-U.S. border reopened to discretionary travel for vaccinated individuals last Monday. The majority of Everett’s players are Canadian, so will be traveling from Canada to the U.S. for the start of training camp in early September. The Tips also have 10 road games against B.C. Division opponents on their schedule this season, including the season opener at Kelowna on Oct. 2, when the team will have to cross the border.