The Western Hockey League has adopted a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, according to a league press release published on Monday.
Effective immediately, all WHL roster players, hockey operations staff and other team and WHL office personnel, along with officials, must be fully vaccinated with a Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the start of the 2021-22 regular season, which begins on Friday, Oct. 1.
In addition to players, the mandatory vaccination policy will apply to general managers, coaches, head scouts or directors of player personnel, trainers, equipment managers, on-ice and off-ice consultants, on-ice officials and ice-level off-ice officials (penalty-box attendants, timekeepers and scorekeepers) and any other individuals who interact directly and on a regular basis with players.
“The health and safety of our players and staff continues to be the number one priority for the WHL,” WHL commissioner Ron Robison said in the release. “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 WHL has also recommended to each of its member clubs that players reside in billet households in which all eligible individuals are fully vaccinated.