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Lightning Round: Syracuse Crunch will require fans and staff to be vaccinated this season

Fans are set to return to Upstate Medical Arena at The Oncenter War Memorial

Syracuse Crunch Coaches Assistant Coach Gilles Bouchard, Head Coach Benoit Groulx and Assistant Coach Eric Veilleux behind the bench against the Utica Comets in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the Upstate Medical University Arena in Syracuse, New York on Saturday, February 27, 2021.
Credit: Scott Thomas

The Syracuse Crunch announced yesterday that they have developed a vaccination policy for the coming season. The team will “require all their employees, game-night staff and fans ages 12 and up to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination to enter the Upstate Medical University Arena during the 2021-22 season.”

This is being done in an attempt to prevent outbreaks within the organization and to keep the players on the ice by keeping public health in mind.

“After extensive discussions with Onondaga County, medical professionals at Upstate University Hospital and our partners at the Tampa Bay Lightning, we believe the decision to require full COVID-19 vaccination for entry into the Upstate Medical University Arena will provide the safest possible environment for our team, staff and fans,” said Crunch Owner Howard Dolgon.

”The decision by the Syracuse Crunch to require vaccinations is another example of a business doing what they feel is best for their organization, while also keeping in mind public health. I support their right, and the rights of all of our local businesses, to make these decisions,” Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said. “I also continue to encourage those who aren’t vaccinated to speak with their medical provider and look forward to seeing folks at a game this season!”

We saw last season teams in the AHL be forced to shut down and cancel the few games they scheduled in front of fans. In order to have a successful season those cannot happen. Outbreaks are dangerous, costly, and a massive disruption for everyone involved. At the end of the day, these rules will bring fans back into the stands and a return to normalcy after over a year and a half, and that’s the most important thing.

The NHL still thinks P Kane is their best right winger and they couldn’t be more wrong. At least they included Nikita Kucherov, the absolute correct choice. [NHL dot com]

“Who has scored the more points in a single regular season among active NHL players? It’s Kucherov, who scored an NHL career-high 128 points (41 goals, 87 assists) in 2018-19 for the Lightning and has since helped them win back-to-back Stanley Cup titles. Kucherov has led the Stanley Cup Playoffs in scoring each of the past two postseasons, combining for 66 points (15 goals, 51 assists) in 48 games, and has scored by far the most playoff points (127 in 113 games) of any NHL player since 2013-14. Despite missing all of last regular season because of injury, Kucherov reminded everyone that he’s still the best right wing in the game when healthy.”

The ECHL Cincinnati Cyclones have promoted Jason Payne to be their next head coach. Payne is the fifth BIPOC head coach in professional hockey history and the only one to hold a position currently. The Cyclones are an affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres, but didn’t play last season. Former Crunch defensemen Devante Stephens and Matthew Spencer were on the team in 2019 after being traded for one another that season. Stephens is now playing for the Abbotsford Canucks in a coup of a signing for them.

And that’s the news! Have a good Wednesday!