It’s all a matter of timing. While contemplating when defenceman Jack Rathbone might make it back to Vancouver from the AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks, it became clear that the short-term fate of the young leftie D-man would likely be determined by the travel availability of Vancouver Canucks defenceman Travis Hamonic.
At Monday’s press conference upon his return to the club, Hamonic stated early on “I’m vaccinated.”
His head coach Travis Green then said, “He’ll be double-vaxxed soon, and we’ll be following the protocols.”
So Hamonic was either referring to tuberculosis, or he was interpreting one shot as ‘vaccinated.’
Then came the realization that the United States government under President Joe Biden is taking the current Covid protocols as seriously, if not even more so, than Canada. It was almost a surprise to read this on the US State Department website.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced a new Order for all air passengers traveling to the United States. Effective November 8, 2021, all non-immigrant, non-citizen air travelers to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to the United States.”
“Fully vaccinated” is similar to the language that Canada uses for air travelers, along with test and quarantine requirements for those who aren’t.
November 8th is this coming Monday, so the US regulation will be in full force when the Canucks leave on their three-game road trip Wednesday that starts with a Thursday game in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche.
So now the math begins. Depending on the type or brand of vaccine, Covid shots must be spaced at least 21 days apart. So back-time it. Say next Tuesday, the day before travel, is second shot day. That means Hamonic would have to have had his first shot on or before October 19th. If he didn’t, then he won’t be going.
If he did, then bon voyage.
Which brings us back to “if he didn’t” and Rathbone. Because the AHL is predominantly a weekend-play league, Rathbone went down Monday and hasn’t even participated in a match yet. He’ll fly with the Abby Canucks to California to play in Stockton Friday and Saturday. That team’s next game is almost a full week later at home on November 12th, which means after just two games of getting some work in, the Canucks of Vancouver might want to bring the young man back. Nothing wrong with that, although there might be salary cap considerations depending on what Hamonic’s short-term status becomes. Or they move someone else down.
Fun isn’t it? Not really. Long term, hopefully it won’t matter. Short term, it does. Hamonic is legit and clearly the preferred option in the D-zone line-up. Not being available in Denver, Vegas and Anaheim, the latter two being divisional match-ups, is a set-back.
By the way, there is no NHL protocol or rule preventing this player from travelling or participating, it’s all governmental. As for the “waiting period” after the second shot prior to being considered “fully vaccinated”, it appears that element of it has been shortened and could potentially be overridden with negative Covid tests. More math, but either way, Hamonic should be available for the later trip.
The Vancouver Canucks subsequent five-game road trip would begin with a flight on November 23rd, one day before a game in Pittsburgh. That would mean Hamonic, unless there’s something really funky going on, would make the trip, because 21 days prior to that journey would be … two days ago.