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Leafs NHL Fans Must Be Vaxxed; Vancouver Canucks Fans Next?

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Not yet. The Vancouver Canucks have not made that final decision yet. It’s understandable, the season is two months away and the vaccination rate in the Lower Mainland and around Metro-Vancouver is pretty impressive. Announcing a vaccination requirement for fans here may just be a formality.

According to the latest government tracker, 74.2% of British Columbians have received at least one shot while 65.8% have received both. And forget about “waste not, want not”. BC has been very good about utilizing what has been made available: 93.6% of the vaccinations made available thus far have been utilized.

Vancouver and its immediate hockey fans have some of the highest percentages of all of the provincial sub-regions with a full vaccination rate of more than 73%. The Central Coast and Saanich Peninsula sub-regions have full rates above 80%. Those folks may want to tell some more distant hockey fans to stay home. The three lowest sub-50% rates are Peace River North, Peace River South and Fort Nelson.

Meanwhile the Toronto Maple Leafs announced today (Tuesday) that starting in mid-September all fans for all MLSE events will be required to provide proof of full vaccination or a negative Covid test. This includes Maple Leafs games, Marlies AHL games, MLS matches and access to restaurants and bars.

Vaccination proponents and fans in BC quickly took to social media to point out MLSE’s decision, wondering if, and in some cases urging, the Vancouver Canucks and Abbotsford Canucks to follow suit. This was the latest statement from Michael Doyle, President of Canucks Sports and Entertainment, and it came six days ago.

“We are in continuous dialogue with the health authorities and are fully committed to the safety of our staff, players, season ticket members and fans as we prepare to welcome everyone back to Rogers Arena and Abbotsford Centre next month. While we have not made any final decisions, we are definitely exploring the possibility of requiring proof of vaccination for entry into our venues. We expect to finalize our policies in the coming weeks and will communicate with our Season Ticket Members and fans as soon as we can.”

Given the danger of the Covid Delta-variant, one would expect the Vancouver Canucks to follow suit, and this “peer pressure” in the industry may lead them to speed up that decision. Meanwhile, keep up the good work folks and here’s an important reminder: Vaccines are available at any clinic without making an appointment and as of Friday the 13th, BC had about 580,000 doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccine on hand.

VHN Managing Editor Rob Simpson has been covering the NHL for three decades on live TV, radio, and as a journalist. He worked his first ever game getting postgame sound as a teenager; it was Vancouver vs. Detroit.

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