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Report: NHL bans team contact with fans amid COVID-19 surge

Bill Wippert / National Hockey League / Getty

NHL players won't be allowed to mingle with fans for the time being as COVID-19 rates continue to spike in the United States.

The league prohibited all corporate, charity, and community-based fan interaction in a memo to each of its 32 clubs, reports The Athletic's Michael Russo. The disallowed activities include speaking engagements, autograph sessions, handshake lines, and fist bumps.

The NHL and NHLPA will continue observing vaccination rates and the spread of variants throughout the summer to evaluate whether similar measures will be required for training camp, adds Russo.

Many of the league's squads allowed fans back in their home arenas as this past season progressed, though most did so at less than full capacity. Infection rates had been declining until a fairly recent increase across much of the U.S. due to the more dangerous Delta variant and other strains.

The NHL allowed teams to host games in their own buildings during the 2021 campaign after resuming the previous season in bubbles based in Edmonton and Toronto with no fans in attendance.

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