Oilers games postponed until after Christmas due to COVID-19 concerns

Article content

COVID-19 concerns have forced the Edmonton Oilers to postpone its next three games until after Christmas, including a scheduled Monday night tilt against the Anaheim Ducks.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

Citing concerns about crossing the border and the “fluid nature” of federal travel restrictions, the NHL announced Sunday all cross-border games would be postponed until after the holiday break, with some fans expressing disappointment on social media for having to cancel their plans.

The Oilers tweeted that the team is in “the process of communicating with all ticket holders” for Monday’s postponed game.

Last week, the number of active cases rose in Alberta from 4,016 to 4,431 with three straight days of increases from Wednesday through Friday. By Friday, the province had 173 known cases of the Omicron variant, up from 30 at the beginning of the week.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

The Oilers were scheduled to travel to California to close out their pre-Christmas schedule with a back-to-back against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday and the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.

The news comes after the Oilers had five players out of the lineup under COVID-19 protocol for a Saturday game in Seattle, along with head coach Dave Tippett.

In a joint Sunday statement with the players’ association, the NHL said postponed games will be rescheduled, but there were no new dates as of publication deadline Sunday night.

“Although there has been a recent increase in positive COVID test results among players, coaches and hockey staff, there have been a low number of positive cases that have resulted in concerning symptoms or serious illness,” the statement said.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

It added both parties are discussing whether to send players to the Winter Olympic games in Beijing, China in February.

Canada’s World Junior Championship team has also cancelled pre-tournament games ahead of the main tournament being hosted in Red Deer and Alberta beginning Dec. 26.

Several provinces, including Ontario, Quebec and B.C., announced tightened COVID-19 restrictions last week, reintroducing capacity limits on restaurants and other indoor gatherings.

The Alberta government has not changed its orders regarding gatherings, barring a slight easement for the holidays to allow 10 people to get together from any number of households. Previously only 10 people from two households could attend a gathering. Unvaccinated people are also allowed to gather in groups of up to 10. They previously were not allowed to gather at all indoors.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

“If we think we need to tighten things, we will,” said Premier Jason Kenney in an interview with 12-year-old political podcaster Wyatt Sharpe on Friday.

“We may have to take some measures, I see Ontario has with respect to major events. We’ll look at that, but we have to be realistic. We can’t stop this wave. It will have widespread impact, so we need to be realistic about it.”

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

In Ontario, new limits on social gatherings and capacity limits in stores and restaurants came into effect Sunday as the provincial government struggled to get escalating case counts under control, while similar restrictions were set to come down in British Columbia and Quebec on Monday.

Quebec reported 3,846 new cases on Sunday, setting an all-time high for the province’s daily tally for the second time in three days, while the number of hospitalizations and people in intensive care because of COVID-19 continued to increase.

Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, head of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Table, had warned Thursday that while hospitalizations in his province had remained fairly steady, he expected a spike in two to three weeks.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

“It does cause serious disease,” Brown said in discussing the science table’s latest modelling. “Hospital rates have risen in South Africa where it first took hold. It’s not just a case of the sniffles.”

A Quebec government health-care research institute also said Thursday that it expects more than 700 non-ICU hospitalizations in the province, and more than 160 people in intensive care, within two to three weeks.

However, the institute said it was less confident than usual in its projections because its data on the Omicron variant was based on a single study conducted in South Africa, which has a significantly lower vaccination rate than Quebec.

-With files from Michael Rodriguez, Dylan Short and The Canadian Press

lijohnson@postmedia.com

twitter.com/reportrix

Advertisement

Story continues below

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

View original article here Source