TSN’s Farhan Lalji has reported that the Calgary Stampeders have “five or six key players” who remain unvaccinated against COVID-19 and have “no intention” of getting vaccinated in the future.
This could become a major obstacle for the team at the end of November when unvaccinated players are no longer permitted to fly due to the federal government’s vaccine travel mandate. Given that the West Final is slated for Dec. 5, this could throw a wrench into Calgary’s postseason hopes.
Lalji reported that the team has made it clear to their unvaccinated players that the team will not travel via bus. He also reported that star quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell is not among those who remain unvaccinated. As such, he will be eligible to participate in the postseason.
The Stamps have won three consecutive games to improve to 5-5 and currently share second-place in the West Division with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The clubs are scheduled to play on Saturday at McMahon Stadium, after which one team will have the short track to host the West Semi-Final.
The top spot in the West Division has almost been clinched by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers as a win over the B.C. Lions on Saturday would secure first-place. Neither of these divisional rivals have the same travel concerns as Calgary given their extremely high vaccination rates.
Saskatchewan head coach Craig Dickenson recently indicated that his team’s vaccination percentage is in the mid-to-high nineties, while 3DownNation‘s John Hodge reported that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are 99 percent vaccinated.
The Stamps are reportedly over the league’s 85 percent threshold, but there are evidently still several key holdouts. Unless these players change their minds regarding becoming vaccinated, they will be placed on the suspended list and go unpaid during the playoffs.
With the West Division likely to run through Winnipeg and the Grey Cup being hosted in Hamilton, Calgary will need to travel a lot come December if they hope to win a championship.