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Flames player tests positive for COVID-19, team will play Montreal

Last Updated Apr 23, 2021 at 5:18 pm MDT

(PHOTO: Tom Ross - 660 NEWS)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – The Montreal Canadiens were ready to play the Calgary Flames on Friday evening despite a Calgary player testing positive for COVID-19.

The Flames called off their morning skate. The club said in a statement the player was in isolation and other players and staff members had tested negative for the coronavirus.

The club said in a later statement the game would go ahead.

The player was later identified as forward Josh Leivo, who was on the NHL’s updated COVID protocol list released 5 p.m. ET Friday.

“We trust that the league is going to make a judgment call that’s best for both teams and the league,” Canadiens forward Paul Byron said Friday morning. “We’re prepared to play a hockey game tonight.

“I think we trust they’ll make the right decision here. They have more information than we do. They shut our team down for a week and we only had one positive case.”

The Canadiens are familiar with disruption of games because of the pandemic.

Four of their games in March were rearranged because one Hab tested positive for a variant and another player was a close contact.

“We’re getting ready for the game and the league has been doing a tremendous job at managing cases like this,” Montreal head coach Dominique Ducharme said.

“We’re ready to go and we trust everything is under control. If not, they’re going to tell us.”

Sportsnet 960 The Fan’s Pat Steinberg said the cancellation was one precaution the team took.

“What I think is really important is that the team decided to cancel their morning skate prior to tonight’s game against Montreal, that’s something we didn’t see with the Vancouver Canucks a number of weeks ago,” Steinberg said.

Looking back at the Canucks outbreak, COVID-19 spread to more than 20 players and staff, which is something the Flames would like to avoid in the midst of a playoff hunt.

“Now I think we know with how contagious this is and how easily it can spread and the fact they held a full practice (Thursday). I think that you at the very least have to have that in mind that it might turn into multiple (cases), but hopefully that’s not the case,” Steinberg added.