With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, you would think that it would be the only thing among the NHL headlines. You would be wrong. As players around the league are waiting with baited breath to see what their fate will be, a number of players are dealing with a different situation, the mumps.
The NHL is no stranger to a mumps outbreak, with a large epidemic sweeping through the league in 2014. Although it has yet to reach the numbers that were seen in 2014, the current outbreak is creeping up on it.
The latest outbreak started in Canada with the Vancouver Canucks being the first victims.It all started with one Canucks player, Troy Stecher, later it was announced that at least six other Canucks players and staff were showing symptoms of the illness. As the mumps are highly contagious, the outbreak spread to the Minnesota Wild. With Zach Parise, Jason Pominville and Scott Stevens all getting the positive diagnosis in Minnesota, it is only a matter of time before more teammates and even other teams contract the illness.
Although the mumps aren’t an illness that people often think of because of the vaccines available to the public, the highly contagious nature of it is what is rolling through the NHL. The league is the mucus and saliva borne illness’s dream. Players not only share a locker room with each other but often times they even share water bottles on the bench. This close proximity and sharing will cause the illness to continually spread. The last epidemic saw over 26 players and staff members contract the virus, including Sidney Crosby.
The league is trying their best to combat the illness by quarantining any player or staff who prevents symptoms for five days. As we have already seen by Minnesota getting the illness weeks after they played the Canucks, it may be too late. The illness may already be halfway around the league with players not yet showing systems.
Who knows, maybe the newly bought players of different teams will show up for their first day with swollen cheeks and flu like symptoms. What will happen then? A league full of chipmunk looking players who can’t play.