Las Vegas Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehner is one of the most outspoken players in the entire NHL. The veteran is often introspective, shares his struggles with mental health, and isn’t afraid to call something out that he doesn’t feel is right.
Lehner let his opinion out on Wednesday when talking about the COVID protocols put in place by the league.
“They told me yesterday that they’re surveying all the teams to see who has taken the vaccine, and who has not taken the vaccines, and they’re not going to change the rules for us as players until all the players have the vaccine at the same time so it’s not a competitive edge,” Lehner said in press conference on Wednesday via ESPN. “That made me go crazy, to be honest. This is human lives and people are struggling with this stuff a lot in society, and we are humans as everyone else.”
Lehner would go on to talk about the ramifications the protocols can have on mental health.
“We had a meeting when the season started in the beginning of camp, that pretty much told us, you can’t go outside of your house, can’t do anything, can’t go to the grocery store, can’t do nothing on the road, you can take a meal in the meal room but go sit in your room, don’t be with your teammates, don’t do this, don’t do that,” Lehner said.
“No one thinks about the mental impact. And there are people struggling. I know people will say, ‘Oh, you are millionaires, this and that, you’re crying, what about these guys?’ We care about that too, man. No matter what people think. This is a society problem. But when government, corporations, NHL, are taking decisions in terms of these irrelevant things like ‘competitive edge’ over the human being, it’s not OK, man.”
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The NBA and MLB have a rule in place that once 85% of players receive the vaccine, they’ll ease on COVID protocol. Lehner says he was told the NHL would do the same.
“That was a lie,” Lehner said. “A blatant lie.”
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN that no such promises were made to players.
“It’s been a matter that’s been raised and discussed as between us and the NHLPA, but no decision to modify has ever been made nor communicated to anyone,” Daly said.
I think Robin Lehner is proof that this past year has been incredible hard for so many people, and athletes are no exempt from that. These guys are making tremendous sacrifices in order to give us entertainment, and it’s important to keep that in perspective.