Red Wings' Tyler Bertuzzi stands firm against vaccination

·2 min read

The NHL has made it exceedingly difficult on those reluctant to roll up their sleeves for the COVID-19 vaccine, but Tyler Bertuzzi is willing to take on the challenge.

Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman spoke with reporters on Wednesday, revealing that Bertuzzi will be among the 10-15 players league-wide refusing vaccination and will be the club's lone unvaccinated roster member. 

Bertuzzi will still be at training camp and take part in the vast majority of team activities, while following the league's stringent COVID-19 guidelines. That means wearing a mask at all times while in the team facilities and undergoing daily testing, while being highly restricted on the road. 

Where Bertuzzi will be most limited, however, is with passage across the border. According to the guidelines set forth by the NHL, Bertuzzi will not be allowed to cross the border and therefore will be unavailable for the nine games Detroit will play in Canada throughout the 2021-22 season. 

Also, as stated in the COVID-19 protocol outlined by the NHL, Bertuzzi will forfeit payment for those nine games in addition to any extra time that he misses, meaning he will surrender more than $450,000 of his total $4.75 million salary this season. Voluntarily.

Jan 28, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Detroit Red Wings left wing Tyler Bertuzzi (59) in action during the game between the Dallas Stars and the Detroit Red Wings at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Tyler Bertuzzi, middle, is unwilling to take the COVID-19 vaccine. (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

Bertuzzi is the highest-profile NHL player refusing the vaccine, but several others have been revealed with more names to come in the days ahead. It seems best that teams confront the issue as soon as possible, as it seems implausible that any team could successfully withhold the identity of anyone choosing to go unvaccinated. 

It's expected that the New Jersey Devils will make an announcement on a single unvaccinated roster player in the coming days. 

Zac Rinaldo was among the small collection of unvaccinated NHL players, but was uninvited to training camp with the Columbus Blue Jackets for making that personal decision.

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