While it is not a large topic of conversation publicly, Leagues from around the world are looking to make COVID vaccination mandatory for the upcoming 2021-2022 season.
Multiple sources in Canada are reporting that discussions are already taking place to require COVID vaccinations for all players next season. Canada as a nation will not be allowing anyone to enter without proof of vaccination after the borders reopen.
Europe will not allow anyone to enter the European Union after June 30th without proof of COVID vaccination, and COVID Passports are already being rolled out in many EU nations.
In the United States, while some leagues will not officially require proof of vaccination, those leagues not requiring proof will use it as a screening question with all potential players entering the league. Some leagues will make vaccination proof required simply because insurance policies will require it.
As for the United States and Canada border reopening, and its relation to vaccinations; There has been a lot of “talk” about easing restrictions lately. However that talk is only about easing restrictions for Canadians who are fully vaccinated in their return to Canada. That change may come as soon as the end of June, but it will only be for Canadian citizens and it will only reduce the amount of time they will have to spend in quarantine.
Fully vaccinated Americans thinking they will be playing hockey in Canada any time soon need to have a backup plan. While it is possible that some time in the Fall, American players might be allowed to cross the border to play the season in Canada, it is still not likely. More likely is in the new year when a Canadian Vaccination Passport is available, and additional tracing and verification systems are in place.
Free movement that we once new between the longest shared border in the world is likely never going to return to what we once knew.
While the United States has said there will not be a National COVID passport plan, other countries will implement those passports. Smart politics on behalf of the Biden Administration knowing they wont have to implement a COVID passport program, because anyone wanting to travel out of the country will have to abide by the other countries passport requirements.
Anti vaccination? Choices will have to be made.