Before NHL players are permitted to step back inside a team facility they must first have a swab inserted roughly four centimetres into their nasal cavity.
Laboratory-based RT-PCR testing is used to detect any active or recent infection with COVID-19, and will be administered 48 hours prior.
The next stage of life in the time of the novel coronavirus for players and team staff will then include at least two more of those tests each week, plus daily temperature and symptom checks — one self-administered at home and another from medical personnel upon arrival at the facility.
All of that just to walk through the door.
You want to get on the ice? Well, there’s a pre-participation medical exam, which includes an EKG test and screening for pre-existing conditions, to be administered before that can happen.
What resonates most about the NHL’s return-to-sport protocol is how much meticulous effort will be required just to get six players working out inside the rink together, never mind what’s still to come when teams progress to training camps or actually start playing games again.
The league hopes to reopen team facilities for small-group workouts as soon as next week and has set out the requirements for doing so. The protocol distributed to teams and players early Monday leaves no detail uncovered and paints a scene unlike any that would typically play out in these buildings.