The Toronto Maple Leafs hit an interesting roadblock this week when it was announced on Friday that the team's star forward, Auston Matthews, had tested positive for COVID-19, the deadly virus that has resulted in the complete shutdown of the National Hockey League in the middle of its current season.
Thus far no players who have tested positive for the virus have been identified, this in spite of the fact that players from numerous teams have reportedly been infected, but I suppose that it should come as no surprise that in a hockey crazed market like Toronto, Canada the secret would not remain a secret for very long. It was controversial Toronto sports columnist Steve Simmons who broke the story in an article for the Toronto Sun, one in which he claimed to have multiple sources for his information.
Maple Leafs superstar Auston Matthews has tested positive for the coronavirus COVID-19, two National Hockey League sources outside Toronto have confirmed to the Toronto Sun.
Matthews, 22, has apparently gone into quarantine at his home in Arizona, hoping to be healthy enough and eligible to travel to Toronto and participate in the opening of Leafs camp on July 10.
There was also some concern regarding Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen, who has been living with Matthews in Arizona during the stoppage, but Simmons was able to confirm that Andersen has thus far tested negative for the virus. Additionally Simmons reported that, somewhat unsurprisingly given the news, that Andersen is no longer in Arizona.
Again from Simmons:
Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen, who was spending much of the break from NHL play with Matthews’ at his Scottsdale home, did not test positive for COVID-19, the same sources indicate. Andersen is no longer living with Matthews – and is no longer in Arizona.
It is in some ways unfortunate that Matthews has been outed in this way, some would argue that this matter should have been kept private, but I genuinely have never understood the stigma surrounding revealing the names of players or personnel who have been afflicted. We are all in this fight together and no one should be stigmatized for contracting a virus that has caused a pandemic worldwide, and I seriously doubt any in the hockey community will treat Matthews any differently as a result of this story going public.