Wednesday was technically the first day of training camp for the Vancouver Canucks but it was a day for talking to the media.
No, the press conferences weren’t over Zoom. For the first time in about a year and a half, members of the media were allowed in the press room at Rogers Arena.
Canucks general manager Jim Benning and head coach Travis Green spoke to the media before a number of players got to do so.
Green was signed to a two-year extension in the offseason and Benning made a number of signings and trades to bolster the Canucks chances to make the playoffs.
Here are three takeaways (or highlights) from Benning and Green’s media availability. You can watch the full press conference here.
Organization will be 100% Vaccinated
With the NHL starting back up, it is expected for the players to be fully vaccinated even though there is no mandate from the NHL or NHLPA.
“No team in the league, maybe a couple others know what having COVID is like like we do and our families and our kids do,” said Canucks captain Bo Horvat, a few weeks ago. “To protect all of them, I encourage everybody to go do it. Hopefully, everybody does.”
However there are some NHL players not yet fully vaccinated or refusing to take the vaccine. William Nylander of the Toronto Maple Leafs still isn’t fully vaccinated but will be before the season starts. Edmonton Oilers defenceman Duncan Keith chose to get vaccinated late in the offseason and is quarantining until October 1 and teammate Josh Archibald is still unvaccinated. Tyler Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings is refusing to take the vaccine as well as Zac Rinaldo of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Rinaldo was not welcome to Blue Jackets training camp.
For the Canucks, Benning said that every player and staff member will be fully vaccinated before the season starts.
“Our organization will be 100% vaccinated by the first game of the season,” said Benning. “We have a strict policy in place. Players, everybody on the staff, everybody in the front office, everybody will be vaccinated.”
Benning also said Brandon Sutter is doubtful to start training camp due to fatigue. It wasn’t COVID-19 because he tested negative.
“He’s been doing some tests and so we’re not really sure what that is yet,” said Benning. “He might not be available to start camp.”
Justin Bailey will miss the start of training camp due to testing positive for COVID-19.
“Bailey tested positive as he was crossing the border,” said Benning. “So, he had to stay back in Buffalo for 10 days and then he’ll do another test.”
Benning was also asked about the status of Travis Hamonic. Before the press conference, Irfaan Gaffar of The Fourth Period reported that Hamonic wasn’t in Vancouver.
Benning didn’t say much about him.
“Hamonic will be here,” he said.
However, Benning later said on Sportsnet 650 that Hamonic is flying in.
“He’ll join the team tomorrow,” said Benning. “He had a reason to come a day late so he’s flying in today and he’s got to do a COVID test, when we get that negative test back he’ll join the group.”