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Winterhawks game postponed as players enter COVID protocols

Goaltenders from the Portland Winterhawks and Tri-City Americans both entered COVID-19 protocols, the Western Hockey League said Wednesday.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Western Hockey League has postponed Wednesday's game between the Portland Winterhawks and Tri-City Americans because goaltenders from both clubs are entering the league's COVID-19 protocols. The league said injuries were also a factor. 

The game was set to be played in Kennewick, Wash. The WHL said it would have more information about a rescheduled game sometime in the future. 

The WHL said it requires all roster players, staff and personnel to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

As of Monday, Portland had three players and staff under COVID protocols. The league did not identify or specify how many players entered protocols Wednesday. 

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The WHL is part of the Canadian Hockey League, which has stricter COVID protocols than the NHL. Players, coaches or staff who test positive must isolate for 10 days and receive a negative result on a PCR test before they can return to team activities. The NHL, meanwhile, just shortened its isolation period to five days in accordance with new guidance from the CDC, although that only applies in the United States, not Canada. The NFL also reduced its quarantine time to five days after the new CDC guidance, and the NBA earlier this week reduced its required quarantine to six days.

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Coronavirus outbreaks continue to affect professional sports teams as players and coaches enter mandatory quarantines, often leaving teams without enough players for a full roster. The Portland Trail Blazers had seven players and head coach Chauncey Billups enter league COVID health and safety protocols Monday. The Blazers had their Dec. 23 game against the Brooklyn Nets postponed because the Nets did not have enough available players.