An outbreak of the Omicron coronovirus variant swept through the Langley Trappers junior B hockey team over the holidays, with eight players testing positive before the team was scheduled to take part in the annual Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL) Winter Classic series.
“A couple of guys came down with it over the Christmas break [then more tested positive],” coach Brad Bakken told the Langley Advance Times.
As a result the Trappers had to bow out of the annual Classic, where all 13 PJHL teams participated in two games apiece over four days at Minoru Arena in Richmond from Dec. 30 to Jan. 2 as the kick-off to the second half of the season.
Coach Bakken said the players who contracted Omicron experienced “mild” symptoms.
“They’re all doing fine,” Bakken told the Langley Advance Times.
The whole team had been vaccinated well before the outbreak.
Trappers were actually down 13 players, Bakken explained, because three other players were residing in homes with older, immunocompromised individuals and opted to stay away, and another player was serving a suspension and yet another was playing with the Langley Rivermen.
At one practice shortly before the team pulled out of the Richmond event, there were just nine players, plus three affiliates, not enough to be competitive, Bakken said.
Bakken said the players let him know immediately when they had symptoms, and were texting him with the test results the instant they received them.
“I’m proud of the guys for taking it seriously,” Bakken commented.
He was hopeful the team will be able to play the next scheduled game, against crosstown rivals Aldergrove Kodiaks, set for Wednesday at the Aldergrove Credit Union Community Arena.
Puck drop is 7:15 p.m.
Bakken said the league was trying to reschedule the Trappers two missed Winter Classic games so the team can avoid forfeits.
One game, against North Vancouver, has been tentatively set for the end of January, and talks about the other missed game, against Delta, were continuing.
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