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Blake Wheeler: “There’s not going to be any hugging or high-fiving” when NHL returns

No more hockey hugs.

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When the NHL returns, where and when is anyone’s guess at this point, one thing is clear: No hugging allowed.

It’s a tradition as old as the game itself. You score a goal, maybe you pull a single fist pump and then you hug it out with your teammates. Well, that’s all history now thanks to COVID-19. 

Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler was recently musing on that exact subject when he brought up the fact that players won’t be able to properly celebrate goals when play resumes.

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“The weirdest part is going to be when you score and goal, and then what do you do?” Wheeler said. “There’s not going to be any hugging or high-fiving. There’s going to be some logistical things that are going to be different. It’s unprecedented what everybody is going through.

It's true... but frankly, I don't even want to think about it. Some of my fondest Stanley Cup Playoff memories have to do with big goals and big goal celebrations. To think that things will be neutered when play resumes... I don't even want to go there.

In any case, Wheeler went on to speak at length as to the many changes he sees coming when the NHL does reopen its doors to hockey.

"I think even just seeing some of the other sports come back a little bit, seeing the golf match last weekend at Seminole down here, I think having something to look forward to does a ton for people, people need something like that right now,” Wheeler said. “It’s definitely going to be weird. Now that this has gone on for as long as it has, I think that everyone has come to terms with it. The German soccer league is already playing without fans, it’s weird watching these guys play and there’s nobody there – no environment. But It is what it is; you’ve just gotta suck it up and make the best of it, and know that there’s going to be tons of people watching."

It is what it is. Wiser words were never said, Blake. Hugging or no hugging, I just want to see some hockey.