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NHL implementing enhanced protocols as COVID-19 spreads

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The NHL is tightening the screws with COVID-19 infections on the rise.

After discussions between the NHL and NHLPA this week, enhanced protocols will be in effect until at least Jan. 7 in an effort to curb the continued spread of the infection, according to multiple reports.

This means daily testing for all players, as well as masking and physical distancing inside facilities and restricted activity on the road.

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman also notes that booster shots are being recommended, but aren't mandatory.

It's been a rough week for the NHL and other sports leagues, which have seen a spike in cases across the board. The NHL has seen more than two dozen players added to the COVID-19 list this week alone. The Calgary Flames — who added seven more players to the health and safety protocols on Wednesday — were forced to temporarily press pause on their season and a game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Minnesota Wild was postponed.

It's also expected that select teams north of the border will cut down on capacity limits — potentially to 50 percent.

The NHL is implementing stricter COVID-19 rules due to a spike in cases among players and staff. (Getty)
The NHL is implementing stricter COVID-19 rules due to a spike in cases among players and staff. (Getty)

While COVID-19 and the omicron variant continue to threaten the league's season and the integrity of the games being played, no firm decision has been made on Olympic participation.

Among the skeptics, Erik Karlsson of the San Jose Sharks said Wednesday that he likely won't attend based on the latest information.

A decision from the players on Olympic participation is due Jan. 10.

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