Vancouver Canucks players participate in the NHL hockey team’s training camp in Vancouver, on January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Vancouver Canucks players participate in the NHL hockey team’s training camp in Vancouver, on January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

‘False positive’ COVID-19 test behind Vancouver Canucks cancelling training camp

Vancouver was the first Canadian NHL team to close its facility due to COVID-19

A COVID-19 test for a Vancouver Canucks player came back with a “false positive” on Sunday, leading the team to cancel training camp for the day.

The team said in a release Sunday it cancelled practice “out of an abundance of caution due to potential exposure to COVID-19.”

All players are tested each day when they come to the rink and one player’s test on Sunday came back positive, said coach Travis Green.

A subsequent second test on the player — who has not been identified — came back negative, Green said.

“At the time, we didn’t know if it was a false positive or not. We wanted to take the proper precautions and just felt it was best if we stayed off the ice and waited to see,” he said, adding that staff decided it was best from a mental health perspective to give the players the day off.

The Canucks resumed training camp Monday.

Vancouver was the first Canadian NHL team to close its facility due to COVID-19, but the Dallas Stars, Columbus Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins have all been impacted by the virus since training camps opened earlier this month.

Given the current situation in the broader community, cancellations are going to happen across the NHL, Green said.

Players understand that they’ll need to be adaptable this season, the coach added.

“It could happen again, and if it does, we need to be ready to make changes and keep our focus if we do,” he said.

Quinn Hughes said he was running late for a meeting when he arrived at the rink on Sunday morning.

After taking his COVID test, the defenceman was wondering whether he had time for breakfast when he ran into assistant coach Nolan Baumgartner in the elevator and was told there had been “a COVID scare.”

“I think we were lucky with no one actually having it, just a little bit of a scare,” Hughes said.

The experience was a reminder that everyone needs to be vigilant about protocols the team and the league have put in place in order to keep everyone safe, he added.

“There’s things we’re going to have to sacrifice if we want to play,” Hughes said. “You’ve just got to rely on everyone being professional and staying out of places they shouldn’t be in.”

Canucks captain Bo Horvat said that cancelling training camp on Sunday was “a little bit of a wake-up call.”

“I’m just happy everybody’s safe and we’ve just got to keep following the protocols to make sure everyone’s safe and healthy,” he said.

The Canucks are set to open their season Wednesday against the Oilers in Edmonton.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

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