Devils' Blackwood confirms he isn't vaccinated due to 'health concerns'

Mike Stobe / National Hockey League / Getty

New Jersey Devils goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood confirmed Tuesday that he's the only member of the organization who isn't vaccinated against COVID-19, according to ESPN's Greg Wyshynski.

"I have a couple of health concerns and health reasons why I'm working through it a little slower," Blackwood said. "I wanted to check off a couple of boxes, and not rush to do it.

"I've not decided one way or the other whether I'm doing it," he added. "I'm taking a little bit of extra time."

The NHL revealed its COVID-19 protocols for the upcoming season earlier in September. Teams are permitted to suspend unvaccinated players if they can't participate in club activities - such as not being able to play in a city where restrictions are strict - with limited exceptions, including religious and medical reasons.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said on Monday the NHL will not be allowing unvaccinated players to play games in Canada "at this point in time." The Devils don't play in Canada until Dec. 3 against the Winnipeg Jets.

Daly recently estimated 98% of NHL players will be fully vaccinated before the season.

Last week, Devils head coach Lindy Ruff said an unnamed player wasn't vaccinated, but the team was working to resolve the situation.

"The players and myself understand. It's something we are working our way through. It's something he is working his way through. Right now it's something we're dealing with that we hope gets rectified," Ruff said, according to The Athletic's Corey Masisak.

Blackwood, 24, posted a .902 save percentage and 3.04 goals-against average last year. Jonathan Bernier is set to join the crease after signing a two-year deal with New Jersey this offseason.

Devils' Blackwood confirms he isn't vaccinated due to 'health concerns'
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