The Shawinigan Cataractes are the latest team to be hit with the H1N1 virus. The QMJHL has postponed one of their games and pushed ahead another to a later date. The Cataractes join the Moncton Wildcats as team who have had significant health problems this season.
Saint John is preparing for the virus and is one of only two teams not to get the vaccine already in the maritimes according to news reports. The other team is the Halifax Mooseheads who have been hit by the flu the last couple weeks. The Sea Dogs will be waiting along with the rest of the general public to get the shot says Sea Dogs athletic therapist Jeff Kelly.
“If they (players) are not feeling well they need to let me know,” said Kelly during the first intermission of Wednesday’s game on News 88.9 FM. “We haven’t been in touch with Moncton yet” he said. Kelly did say however equipment manager David Kelly has talked with the equipment team for the Wildcats.
It’s not like the Sea Dogs have not been preparing. Jeff Kelly said he has been preparing for H1N1 since August with director of hockey operations Mike Kelly. Hand sanitizing machines have been placed in the dressing room along with educating the players on proper ways to keep germs off.
Each player has their own water bottle with their number placed on a piece of tape. But contrary to popular belief, Kelly believes the bigger issue is with towel use. There will be about 100 towels on the bench during a game for one time use only. David Kelly will clean them during the intermission.
“So far luck has been on our side,” said Jeff Kelly. “(H1N1) kind of just crept up on us with the issue in Moncton.”
No games involving the Sea Dogs have been affected so far this season. The team has also remained healthy with the exception of physical wounds. Tomas Jurco missed a few games with chicken pox and Nicholas Pard has had flu like symptoms.