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Vancouver Canucks’ return pushed back as another player added to COVID-19 protocol list

VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Canucks’ anticipated return to work has been delayed at least another day.

The NHL announced Sunday that due to an additional Canucks player being in the league’s COVID-19 protocols, the team’s practice facilities will not open until Monday at the earliest.

The player has not been around the team since March 31, but the league’s medical staff, plus staffs of the NHL Players’ Association and the team determined “that the prudent decision was to keep the facilities closed for an additional day,” the NHL said in a release.

Click to play video: COVID-19: Canucks returning to ice Sunday and set to play Edmonton Friday

The decision isn’t expected to impact the Canucks’ first game back on Friday, when the Edmonton Oilers are scheduled to visit.

Twenty-five people, including 21 players and four members of the coaching staff, have tested positive for the virus during the outbreak.

Click to play video: Canucks season remains on hold despite COVID-19 progress

Nineteen Canucks players were on the NHL’s COVID protocol list before Sunday’s 5 p.m. ET update. Only players on the active roster are on the list.

A player does not have to register a positive COVID-19 test to be on the list. Being a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case or a mandated travel quarantine, for example, could put a player on the list.

The Canucks said in a tweet Saturday that players would return to training and limited individual practices on Sunday, with a full group practice scheduled for Wednesday.

Click to play video: Vancouver Canucks confirm team 25 people infected with COVID-19 variant

The outbreak saw eight Canucks games postponed between March 31 and April 14.

Vancouver GM Jim Benning said Friday that the ill players were feeling better, and are “on the other side of it.”

“We still have family members that are getting sick and I think the players worry about that,” the GM said.

The Canucks’ overhauled schedule now has them set to end the season on May 16, meaning a gruelling final stretch that will see them play 19 games in 30 days including six sets of back-to-backs.

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