The New York Rangers and the NHL are in a more unique position them some of their other league counterparts. Hockey is a sport that is more of a shared sport of nationality than most of the others as Canada plays a huge role in the NHL, and frankly, it is more their sport than ours. With that being said, A top Canadian medical official does not share the same optimism as our United States officials concerning the resumption of the NHL season or any other sports for that matter.
Dr. Allan Drummond says that sports not be considered “for quite a while”
TSN recently conducted an interview with Dr. Drummond, who represents the Association of Emergency Room Physicians in Canada. Dr. Drummond was asked about what it would take for pro sports to start up again, and in part of his response he emphatically replied that “this is not the time for sports, this is a time for saving lives.” Dr. Drummond went on to say that he understands that many people’s livelihood depends on the income from working in the sports industry, be also mentioned that everyone should be concerned about the players’ lives as well. “They may be icons, but they are not immortal.” He went on to question why “we would put so many young men and women’s lives in harm’s way, by making them travel, crowding into crowded locker rooms, playing against another team, and exposing them to a virus that could potentially kill them.”
Dr. Drummond questions whether the New York Rangers and the NHL should start even in October
While it was apparent that Dr. Drummond was not a fan of any sports starting this summer, he also questioned whether the NHL should start again in October of 2020. He explained his rationale by saying that “This being Canada, starting in October/November we start sneezing and getting runny noses, which makes it difficult to tell who has influenza and who has COVID since they mimic one another. So are we going to crowd hockey stadiums and run a risk of a second wave (of COVID-19)?” Sharing the sentiments of many California officials, he believes that sports should not be considered until 2021 at the earliest.
Dr. Drummond was even more direct when he responded to a question of leagues coming up with a plan to try to play this summer by sequestering players, etc, he responded by saying” “I think it is time for everyone to grow up.” He specifically addressed MLB who have floated out plans to start earlier than everyone else when he said “The boys of summer can wait” and again questioned those on how much they value the lives and well-being of their players. Dr. Drummond also believes that sequestering players would still put them at great risk.
The NHL has been suggesting one idea to resume its season by playing games in neutral sites that have had less impact from COVID-19, such as in North Dakota. Dr. Drummond does not see that as a good alternative, because he believes that the United States has not handled the pandemic well. “Are we going to risk Canadian athletes or any other athlete at risk which I think frankly America poses right now.”
This is a vastly different take then our own Dr. Fauci has stated earlier when he suggested that leagues could get up and running in some fashion this summer. However, both men agree that the virus is novel and that the virus will determine the direction that we and sports take in the future.