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Detroit Red Wings’ Tyler Bertuzzi refuses COVID-19 vaccine, won’t travel to Canada for games

  • September 22, 2021

DETROIT – Tyler Bertuzzi, a key part of the Detroit Red Wings, has declined to get the vaccine for COVID-19, the only Wings player to do so, general manager Steve Yzerman said Wednesday. 

Bertuzzi will still be at training camp, which runs for six days beginning Thursday in Traverse City. Yzerman said Bertuzzi will not be able to travel to Canada under current restrictions, which require a 14-day quarantine for unvaccinated players traveling into Canada. The Wings play nine times in Canada, including their first road game, on Oct. 23 in Montreal. If Bertuzzi continues to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine, he would forfeit at least $400,000 just based on the Canada-based games.

“It’s his decision,” Yzerman said Wednesday. “I am not in a position to force anyone. We can’t force anyone to get vaccinated. I personally am vaccinated, my family is vaccinated. I’ll leave it at that.” 

Bertuzzi, 26, signed a two-year, $9.5 million deal in July. He’s a top-line player and power play guy, and one of the grittiest players on the team. 

The NHL and NHL Players Association do not have a vaccine mandate for players, but unvaccinated players face restrictions that the vaccinated do not. The unvaccinated will not be exempt from a 14-day quarantine when crossing from the U.S. to Canada, and teams can suspend players without pay who are unable to participate in team activities.

“Tyler will follow the protocols for non-vaccinated players,”  Yzerman said. “Most significant, is as of now, and for the foreseeable future, entering Canada. That will be an issue when we are playing Canadian teams.” 

Bertuzzi announced on social media last week that he and his fiancee, Ashley Greasley, are expecting the birth of their first child.

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 

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