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Chicago Blackhawks say the team is fully vaccinated as training camp opens. ‘It’s just a sign of the players’ commitment to try to be safe,’ Stan Bowman says.

Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
 23 days ago
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Chicago Blackhawks center Dylan Strome (17) celebrates his second-period goal against the Dallas Stars at the United Center on May 10, 2021. Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Blackhawks will enter the season with all of their players fully vaccinated, president of hockey operations and general manager Stan Bowman said Thursday.

“Certainly it shows the commitment of the players but also just from a more practical standpoint,” Bowman said before the start of training camp at Fifth Third Arena. “It’s pretty challenging if you have players that aren’t vaccinated as far as day to day activities.”

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told reporters the league projects to achieve 98% vaccination among players by opening night on Oct. 12.

However, U.S.-Canada border protocols still are in effect, meaning unvaccinated players will have to quarantine. Without the NHL receiving an exemption, it likely would jeopardize any such player’s availability to practice or play.

Players who haven’t been vaccinated and have to enter COVID-19 protocol can be suspended and docked pay.

“From the logistical side of it, it’s much easier,” Bowman said of the Hawks players. “But also it’s just a sign of the players’ commitment to try to be safe, and that’s the way we’ve always felt. But it’s an individual decision. It was their choice and we’re happy it worked out that way.”

Bowman said none of the players needed persuading.

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