Maple Leafs' Nylander not fully vaccinated but will be before season starts

Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander. (Larry MacDougal/CP)

Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander says he is not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but will be before the start of the season.

"I'm not fully vaccinated yet. I had a couple of medical things that I had to take care but I'll be vaccinated by the beginning of the season," Nylander explained.

Nylander missed time last season due to being a potential close contact of a possible positive COVID-19 case. The 25-year-old had 17 goals and 42 points in 51 games last season while leading the team with five goals and eight points in the post-season.

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association did not impose a vaccine mandate on players, but restrictions — including the potential of not being able to cross the border from the U.S. into Canada without a lengthy quarantine — will make things challenging for those who are not vaccinated.

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly estimates that 98 per cent of players will be vaccinated, leaving between 10 and 15 players unvaccinated among roughly 700 on 32 teams across North America.

Teams will be able to suspend unvaccinated players without pay if they cannot participate in hockey activities as part of the protocols, which could include games in Canada.

Fully vaccinated players will have any COVID-19 positive tests treated as hockey injuries and still be paid. Unvaccinated players also will have their movements restricted when on the road. And there will still be regular coronavirus testing for vaccinated players.

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