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After Scramble to Replace NHL Players, USA Hockey Reveals Men’s Olympic Team (Wall Street Journal) Team USA will look a little different than planned at the Beijing Olympics.

After weeks of scrambling sparked by the NHL’s decision to hold its players out of the Olympic tournament, USA Hockey unveiled the men’s hockey team roster for the 2022 Beijing Games. The 25-man squad is heavy on youth, with just one returning Olympian and 15 college players in the mix, including Minnesota State’s Nathan Smith, who is currently the leading point scorer in the NCAA.

“We’ve got a great blend of youth and experience,” said U.S. men’s Olympic coach David Quinn. “The challenge is you’re throwing 25 players together in a short period of time and trying to become a cohesive unit in a short, small window.”

Thursday’s announcement comes about three weeks after the NHL reversed its plans to allow players to represent their countries at the Olympics amid a wave of Covid-19 outbreaks on 19 of its 32 franchises that postponed more than 50 games in December and forced the league to shut down for several days. The NHL had built a three-week hiatus into the schedule in February to accommodate China-bound skaters and will likely use that period to reschedule disrupted games.

Do NHL Fans Need to be Vaccinated to Attend Games? (SportsTravel) Below is the full rundown on each NHL team’s fan policy when it comes to COVID-19, whether they require proof of full vaccination, either vaccination or a negative COVID test, or in some teams’ cases, no policy at all. Ten teams will mandate proof of vaccination for fans this season and eight more will allow proof of negative test for entrance if fans do not have vaccination. Every team in Canada will require at least proof of a negative test for fans to attend games.

The league’s incentives for players to be vaccinated this season has resulted in a near 100 percent vaccination rate, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said during the league’s preseason media tour. The NHL’s protocols this season include the ability to suspend unvaccinated players without pay if they cannot participate in hockey activities, while fully vaccinated players will have any COVID-19 positives treated as injuries and still be paid. Unvaccinated players also will undergo regular testing and have their movements restricted when on the road. 
Spectator regulations for each NHL team for the 2021–2022 season

Anaheim Ducks (Honda Center, 17,174): The Ducks require either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for fans to attend. Fans must wear masks if they are not vaccinated.

Arizona Coyotes (Gila River Arena, 17,125): The Coyotes do not require fans to show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test to attend. There is no mask mandate.

Boston Bruins (TD Garden, 17,565): The Bruins require proof of vaccination for fans to attend. Fans must wear masks except when eating or drinking.

Buffalo Sabres (KeyBank Center, 19,070): The Sabres require fans to show proof of full vaccination to attend. Fans must wear masks except when eating or drinking.

Calgary Flames (Scotiabank Saddledome, 19,289): The Flames are limited to 50 percent capacity for games and require fans to show proof of full vaccination to attend. Fans must wear masks except when eating or drinking.

Carolina Hurricanes (PNC Arena, 18,680): The Hurricanes do not require fans to show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test to attend. Fans must wear a mask except when eating or drinking.

Chicago Blackhawks (United Center, 19,717): The Blackhawks require proof of vaccination for fans to attend. Fans must wear masks except when eating or drinking.

Colorado Avalanche (Ball Arena, 17,809): The Avalanche require fans to show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test to attend. Fans must wear masks except when eating or drinking.

Columbus Blue Jackets (Nationwide Arena, 18,144): The Blue Jackets do not require fans to show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test to attend. Fans must wear masks except when eating or drinking.

Dallas Stars (American Airlines Center, 18,352): The Stars do not require fans to show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test to attend. Fans must wear masks except when eating or drinking.

Detroit Red Wings (Little Caesars Arena, 19,515): The Red Wings do not require fans to show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test to attend.

Edmonton Oilers (Rogers Place, 18,347): The Oilers are limited to 50 percent capacity for games and require either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for fans to attend.

Florida Panthers (FLA Live Arena, 19,250): The Panthers do not require fans to show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test to attend.

Los Angeles Kings (Staples Center, 18,230): The Kings require either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for fans to attend. Fans must wear masks except when eating or drinking.

Minnesota Wild (Xcel Energy Center, 17,954): The Wild will require either proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test to attend starting January 26. Fans must wear masks except when eating or drinking.

Montreal Canadiens (Bell Centre, 21,302): The Canadiens are not allowed to play in front of fans. When allowed, the Canadiens require fans to show proof of full vaccination to attend. Fans must wear masks except when eating or drinking.

Nashville Predators (Bridgestone Arena, 17,113): The Predators require either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for fans to attend. Fans must wear masks except when eating or drinking.

New Jersey Devils (Prudential Center, 16,514): The Devils do not require fans to show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test to attend. Fans are encouraged to wear masks except when eating or drinking.

New York Islanders (UBS Arena, 17,113): The Islanders require either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for fans to attend. Fans must wear masks except when eating or drinking.

New York Rangers (Madison Square Garden, 18,006): The Rangers require fans to show proof of full vaccination to attend. Fans must wear masks except when eating or drinking.

Ottawa Senators (Canadian Tire Centre, 17,373): The Senators are not allowed to play in front of fans. When allowed, the Senators require fans to show proof of full vaccination to attend. Fans must wear masks except when eating or drinking.

Philadelphia Flyers (Wells Fargo Center, 19,543): The Flyers will require fans to show proof of full vaccination to attend starting January 3. Fans must wear masks except when eating or drinking.

Pittsburgh Penguins (PPG Paints Arena, 18,387): The Penguins do not require fans to show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test to attend. Fans must wear masks except when eating or drinking.

San Jose Sharks (SAP Center, 17,562): The Sharks require fans to show proof of full vaccination to attend. Fans must wear masks except when eating or drinking.

Seattle Kraken (Climate Pledge Arena, 17,100): The Kraken require fans to show proof of full vaccination to attend. Fans must wear masks except when eating or drinking.

St. Louis Blues (Enterprise Center, 18,096): The Blues require either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for fans to attend. Fans must wear masks except when eating or drinking.

Tampa Bay Lightning (Amalie Arena, 19,902): The Lightning do not require fans to show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test to attend. Fans are encouraged to wear masks except when eating or drinking.

Toronto Maple Leafs (Scotiabank Arena, 18,819): The Maple Leafs will not have fans at home games through January 21.

Vancouver Canucks (Rogers Arena, 18,910): The Canucks are limited to 50 percent capacity for games and require fans to show proof of full vaccination to attend. Fans must wear masks except when eating or drinking.

Vegas Golden Knights (T-Mobile Arena, 17,368): The Golden Knights do not require fans to show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test to attend. Fans must wear masks except when eating or drinking.

Washington Capitals (Capital One Arena, 18,506): The Capitals do not require fans to show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test to attend. Fans must wear masks except when eating or drinking.

Winnipeg Jets (Canada Life Centre, 15,321): The Jets are limited to 50 percent capacity for games and require fans to show proof of full vaccination to attend. Fans must wear masks except when eating or drinking.

PointsBet Canada Announces Partnership With NHL Alumni Association (Sports Handle) PointsBet Canada and the NHL Alumni Association jointly announced a new partnership Monday.

PointsBet is now the exclusive sports betting partner of the NHLAA in Canada and also an official partner of the association in the United States. It’s a multi-year deal that grants PointsBet Canada the marketing and licensing rights to the NHLAA and its over 1,000 alumni across North America.

“The NHL Alumni Association has always been at the top of our list as PointsBet entered Canada,” said Nic Sulsky, chief commercial officer of PointsBet Canada, in a press release. “Saturday night hockey is an institution from coast-to-coast-to-coast. Being able to partner with the likes of Paul Coffey, Nicklas Lidstrom, Mike Vernon, and the countless other NHL alumni that skated across our screens will allow us to deliver the authentically Canadian gaming experience that we want to bring sports fans.”

The NHLAA, established in 1999, is a charitable organization devoted to bettering the lives of all former NHL players and their families. The organization provides financial assistance, mental and emotional wellness support, physical care, post-playing career transition, and family aid. The NHLAA has the largest membership of retired professional hockey players in the world and is well known for its Hockey Fights Cancer campaign.

“What made the partnership with PointsBet Canada so attractive was their appreciation of what makes our alumni unique,” said Glenn Healy, president and executive director of the NHLAA. “From the very beginning, PointsBet Canada understood our mission at the NHLAA, which is to ‘Honour the Past’ and provide hope and help for all NHL alumni and their families. … It was clear in all of our conversations that PointsBet would play within the rules as a responsible gaming operator, and they were willing to partner with our players to deliver this important message to Canadians.”
PB focused on Canadian market

Australian-based PointsBet has created a Canadian division — PointsBet Canada — that is operating out of Toronto, Ontario. The company appointed Scott Vanderwel as chief executive officer last summer. Vanderwel, who previously served as senior vice president for Rogers Communications, hails from nearby Oakville, Ontario. PointsBet has its North American headquarters in Colorado and is the official sports betting partner of NBC Sports. Ontario is expected to open its market to private operators, like PointsBet Canada, sometime in Q1 of this year.

BCLC Targeting Canucks Fans With Prize-Loaded Promotion (Sports Handle) Hockey bettors in British Columbia can win Vancouver Canucks-related prizes along with their wagers this month.

British Columbia Lottery Corporation’s PlayNow is running the Canucks Fanuary Contest for its online sportsbook players throughout the month of January. Any bettor that places at least a $5 (CAD) wager on any NHL game in the month of January is eligible to win prizes after each Canucks game (15 total prize packages) throughout the month. PlayNow users can bet daily to be entered into the draw with a maximum of one entry per day. The prizes include signed Canucks jerseys, credit vouchers for blackjack at Parq Casino Vancouver, club seats to multiple Canucks games, and a $750 store credit at the Canucks team store.

The grand prize will be drawn on Feb. 3 and it will award one winner six Canucks Loge Box tickets for the team’s game on March 11 against the Washington Capitals. The winner will also be provided with a behind-the-scenes walkthrough at the arena, as well as a one-night stay at Parq Casino and dinner with a visit from a mystery Canucks alumnus.

“BCLC and the Vancouver Canucks have partnered for many years. This partnership gives BCLC the ability to provide exciting contests to PlayNow.com players and Canucks fans every season, enhancing the gaming experience for our players,” said Matt Lee from BCLC media relations. “PlayNow.com receives overwhelmingly positive feedback from players about these contests every year, and BCLC listens to the feedback to make them even better.”

Legal Look: Can The San Jose Sharks Get Out Of Paying Evander Kane Millions Of Dollars? (Forbes SportsMoney) Legal Look: Can The San Jose Sharks Get Out Of Paying Evander Kane Millions Of Dollars?

The San Jose Sharks are firing Evander Kane. He’s been placed on unconditional waivers by the team for breaching Covid-19 protocols. Assuming he isn’t claimed by another team, the Sharks intend to terminate his contract. If the Sharks succeed in doing that, the team would walk away from paying Kane what’s left on his deal, which is reportedly $22.8 million over the next four years.

In law, terminating a contract is a big deal, particularly when it’s worth millions of dollars. The Sharks have wanted to part ways with Kane for some time, and the team feels as though it can do that.

In order to terminate Kane’s contract for good cause—or just cause, as it’s commonly referred to—the Sharks need to show that Kane engaged in serious misconduct in violation of the Shark's Covid-19 protocols. In these types of cases, typically a single incident is insufficient to support termination without pay.

The problem for Kane is that this isn’t an isolated incident. He previously submitted a fake vaccination card, or at the very least was suspended for 21 games by the NHL for violating Covid-19 protocols.

And now, it’s reported that he traveled to Vancouver while positive with Covid-19. If that’s the case, the Sharks likely have a sufficient basis to meet the “good cause” threshold and fire Kane without pay.

The NHLPA has declared it will grieve the termination, as it should. Its mandate is to protect the best interests of its player membership, and in cases where it believes there has been a grave miscarriage of justice, it must take action. Here, the NHLPA will want to contest what it sees as a flawed application of good cause law. To allow this termination to go uncontested is to allow a dangerous precedent to stand.

As far as a defense to the termination, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that there may be a dispute over whether Kane received medical clearance from the team to travel. If that’s the case, then this might serve as a viable defense.

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