Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment have updated their mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for next season starting September 22nd for all their teams. Up until now, people were allowed to be unvaccinated so long as they showed a negative COVID-19 test. That avenue is now closed, meaning all guests 12 years and up must be fully vaccinated if they want to be allowed into a venue. Face coverings still required.

This news comes as Ontario is creating an app that shows proof of vaccination, which will be much easier to access rather than finding the automated email you got when you were vaccinated. Also known as a vaccine passport.

The Leafs also announced a small change to their preseason schedule, with the first game moved back from 2pm to 7pm against the Montreal Canadiens.

Speaking of the Canadiens, their draft pick Logan Mailloux has been suspended indefinitely for inappropriate conduct not becoming of an OHL player. Mailloux, Mark Hunter, and the London Knights will be able to apply for reinstatement on January 1st whereupon the league will look at the facts again decide whether he can play during the season.

This action by the OHL follows their rules and policies to the letter, and puts egg squarely on the face of the Canadiens, the NHL, and the London Knights. Because of his crimes, the Canadiens should never have drafted Mailloux. He said himself he shouldn’t have been drafted. The NHL should’ve taken him off the list of eligible draftees for last summer or forced the Canadiens to renounce the pick ala Mitchell Miller when it became clear earlier in the season Mailloux’s actions were criminal. And the Hunters should be getting a lot of flack for lobbying for Mailloux to face no punishment for breaking very serious rules laid out by the OHL.

The OHL needed to slam this suspension of Mailloux in order to teach young hockey players that if they do bad things, they won’t get off scot free. The same goes for Mitchell Miller and Anthony DeAngelo. The lesson shouldn’t be that if you’re good enough, you can get away with being a racist, misogynist, scum of a human being just because you’re supposedly good at hockey.

Back to the NHL, the League and PA have agreed to mandate full vaccinations for all players and staff that work in hockey operations. The full wording is in the article, but failure to comply will result in suspension away from the team, exclusion from travel and games, and loss of pay for every day they are not in compliance with the rules.

There are exceptions, including “sincerely held religious beliefs,” but those players will be heavily restricted from going anywhere beyond the arena, team hotel, and practice facility. “[Unvaccinated players] are not allowed to use the hotel gym, pool, sauna, steam room or other shared facilities.”

By latest reports, the NHL is 85% fully vaccinated, last among the NFL, MLB, and NBA. The WNBA announced they were 99% fully vaccinated by the end of June. Getting as much of that last 15% will be extremely important for the NHL if they want to have a financially successful season. There’s a lot of money riding on this, hence the strict consequences for failing to get vaccinated. We’ve seen measures like this increase vaccination rates among the general public, so we’ll likely see a bump as well.

In Leafs organization news, the Newfoundland Growlers have signed two players to AHL contracts and seven players to ECHL contracts. They are properly getting the band back together.

The Arizona Coyotes have submitted a bid to build a new arena in Tempe, Arizona. The arena won’t be ready for a few years so the team will need a place to play in the meantime. Also, once the building is ready they should absolutely call it the Tempe of Doom.

Arizona Coyotes submit bid to build new arena in Tempe as team seeks new home

And lastly, the founder of Cap Friendly has joined Chicago in their hockey ops department. Unlike CapGeek (RIP) and General Fanager, CapFriendly will stay online as the website has now grown beyond the power of one man. We are incredibly grateful to their invaluable resource.