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How covid has affected sports during winter break

Colin Wildeman

Covid has greatly affected sports during winter break. With the recent Omicron variant surge, the sports world has been turned upside down. With the NBA roster being flooded with G leaguers

(The G league, the minor league of the NBA) to the NHL plain out stopping the season.

The NBA along with many sports has been greatly affected. With many games canceled and many stars missing multiple games the NBA has had struggles with covid. Some teams have been absolutely gutted such as the Atlanta Hawks who have a whopping 11 players and their head coach on the covid reserve. That’s 73% of the 15 players they carry on their regular-season roster. They have still managed to play with a makeshift roster filled with free agents and G league players. In the last month, 11 games have been postponed because of the pandemic. The teams that lead in postponements are the Bulls, Nets, and Raptors. The Hawks have only had to postpone one game. They actually won a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers 121 to 118 despite their limited roster. One Covid drama in the NBA is how 7-time all-star Kyrie Irving is only allowed to play road games because he is not vaccinated. However, he still cannot play against the New York Knicks or Toronto Raptors because of those city mandates.

The NHL may be the sport with the biggest covid impact. Despite the NHL having everyone but one player being vaccinated. The NHL Had to take a 5-day break where all facilities were closed from December 22 to December 27th. Many games have been postponed because of the restrictions of Canadian provinces. Some Provinces have limited the number of fans allowed to attend a game. The teams would lose money with the lack of attendance and that has forced them to postpone. From December 13 to December 17 the Calgary Flames have placed 19 players on the covid list.

The College Football world has also been affected by the Pandemic. So far five bowl games have been postponed in the recent surge. Many teams have got the virus and could not field a competitive roster. They also took the initiative for the safety of their students. Hawaii’s Athletic Director David Matlin stated, ​​"The health and safety of our student-athletes is the most important part of this decision." The Hawaii Football team opt-out had this response from their opponent the Memphis Tigers “We hope that Hawaii players and staff get healthy soon, I'm upset for our seniors and the rest of the team that battled this season to earn this opportunity. We've had [a] terrific time here in Hawaii as a program and we are sad our trip ended this way.” That response means the Hawaii football team must have done it graciously or given them a warning considering the response from NC State when the holiday bowl was canceled. UCLA pulled out of the holiday bowl just hours before the game started and the NC State Wolf Pack was not happy. Their coach Dave Doeren said ​​“We felt like UCLA probably knew something was going on with their team and didn’t tell anyone on our side, We had no clue they were up against that. I don’t think it was very well handled from their university.” Coach Dave Doeren was not happy with the bruins and thinks they deserve a win. Considering his statement here, “As far as I’m concerned, we did beat them.” Clearly the Wolf Pack were not happy.

The NFL also has had some covid issues. While none of their games were canceled, many were postponed. Games that were originally scheduled for a Sunday were moved to a Monday so more players could play. This week the Jacksonville Jaguars lead the league in covid cases with twenty players. This may seem like a lot compared to the NHL and NBA but the NFL Has 53 players on a team while the NBA has 15 and NHL has 23.

The Covid 19 pandemic has shaken the sports world recently. Leagues such as the NBA, NHL, NCAA, Football, and NFL all have been impacted. But teams are trying to get past the pandemic with postponements and cancellations. Frankly, I think that it is working and Player safety comes first, and am pretty sure those leagues would agree with me.

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