Blue Jackets Will Begin Phase 2 Small-Group Sessions on Thursday, June 11

By Rob Mixer on June 10, 2020 at 11:10 am
Columbus Blue Jackets forward Oliver Bjorkstrand prepares for a practice at the OhioHealth Ice Haus.
1st Ohio Battery

The boys are back. Kind of.

The Blue Jackets announced Wednesday that their first small-group (no more than six players) on-ice workout sessions will take place Thursday, June 11.

Here are the group breakdowns:

Group A: Seth Jones, Gus Nyquist, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Matiss Kivlenieks, Andrew Peeke, assistant coach Brad Larsen

Group B: Riley Nash, Liam Foudy, Scott Harrington, Elvis Merzlikins, assistant coach Kenny McCudden, goaltending coach Manny Legace

A new rule has been added, per the NHL. As seen above, there are coaches' names on the groups lists – which previously were not permitted. NHL clubs may have one coach, plus one goaltending coach, on the ice with the small groups. Coaches are allowed to join the skating sessions seven days after the first on-ice session, so toward the end of next week.

Skating sessions will be held Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9-11:30 a.m. and 1-3:30 p.m. The groups are slated to alternate between morning and afternoon sessions each week.

From a medical perspective, the NHL and Blue Jackets have outlined the following safety protocols:

  • COVID-19 testing shall be administered to all Players, and Club personnel with “Player Access,” forty-eight (48) hours prior to any person returning to Club training facilities in order to detect active or recent infection.
  • Once players return to the facilities, each must undergo a pre-participation medical evaluation to be cleared for participation in Phase 2 activities. The medical evaluation will include a focus on existing injuries, medical conditions and on cardiac screening. 
  • Each Club shall establish a process to record symptoms and conduct temperature checks on a daily basis, and not more than two (2) hours prior to each Player’s and Club personnel with “Player Access” entry to the Club facility. These checks shall be self-administered at the homes of Player and Club personnel with “Player Access” prior to their departure for the Club’s facility.
  • Club will administer a separate temperature and symptom check at the entrance of the Club facility before any Player or Club personnel with “Player Access” shall be allowed to enter.
  • Face coverings (cloth or surgical-type mask) shall be worn at all times – other than while exercising -- when entering or leaving the Club facility and while inside the Club facility where social distancing cannot be maintained. Players are not required to wear face coverings when they are exercising or on the ice.
  • Each player will be tested twice weekly for the COVID-19 virus.