It’s become the norm during this pandemic whenever a player in any sport must miss time due to COVID-19 exposure.
On Tuesday night, the NHL witnessed something different as the Vegas Golden Knights’ entire coaching staff had to miss the game against the St. Louis Blues due to COVID-19 safety protocols.
It was announced on Tuesday evening that one of the Golden Knights’ staff members tested positive for COVID-19, meaning that the entire coaching staff had to enter quarantine.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the Vegas Golden Knights coaching staff will be self-isolating for Tuesday’s games against the St. Louis Blues due to COVID-19 protocols,” the Golden Knights announced on their Twitter page before the Blues game.
The Golden Knights also added that they will update the situation “when appropriate.”
The team gave their first update on Wednesday as they announced that they would be closing their facilities until they feel that it’s safe to proceed.
With head coach Peter DeBoer and his staff missing the game, this meant that the Golden Knights’ bench would be led by general manager Kelly McCrimmon and the coaching staff of the team’s AHL affiliate, the Henderson Silver Knights.
Several players didn’t even know that the coaching staff was self-isolating until they arrived at the arena before Tuesday’s game.
While they ended up battling hard, the Golden Knights ended up losing to the Blues 5-4 in a shootout even after Max Pacioretty scored his seventh career hattrick for Vegas.
Former Golden Knight David Perron had two goals plus another in a shootout, while Brayden Schenn scored the shootout-winning goal for the Blues.
There is no indicator as to when Vegas’ coaching staff will be back behind the bench, but TSN’s Darren Dreger said on Tuesday night that the best-case scenario is that no other staff members test positive for COVID-19 and that the Blues game is the only one they end up missing.
However, if DeBoer and his staff do miss more games than the team would like, McCrimmon is a perfectly suitable replacement.
McCrimmon coached the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings for 13 seasons between 1990 and 2016, accumulating a 474-374-88 record. He would go on to win the 2015-16 WHL Championship before joining the Golden Knights as their first-ever assistant general manager in 2016.
The Silver Knights head coach, Emanuel Viveiros, also has had success as a coach.
He’s been the head coach of the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs and Swift Current Broncos, as well as having coaching around Europe which includes being Austria’s head coach at the 2014 Olympics.
Viveiros recently served as an assistant coach for the Edmonton Oilers in 2018.
Vegas’ next game is on Thursday against St. Louis again, so it will be interesting to monitor the situation to see if any of their coaching staff regulars return to their duties by then.