Zac Rinaldo sent to AHL due to being unvaccinated

The outspoken forward is not welcome at training camp until he is 100% vaxxed. Thoughts?


The discussions surrounding COVID-19 vaccinations and vaccine mandates continue to divide people in both Canada and the United States and it looks like Columbus Blue Jackets forward Zac Rinaldo is the first NHLer to really suffer the consequences for his decision to decline vaccination.

Rinaldo, a ten year veteran, has been outspoken in his stance against vaccine mandates this offseason, even making public statements in support of the People's Party of Canada (PPC) in the most recent federal election that wrapped up just yesterday. In fact, Rinaldo even attended a rally in support of the PPC and leader Maxime Bernier earlier this summer.

"I am here solely to tell you why I am voting for PPC," said Rinaldo. "I am solely voting for PPC because of the mandates and they are going to get rid of these mandates."

Rinaldo went on to clarify that, although he does appear to oppose the mandates, he is not an anti-vaccine advocate by any stretch of the imagination.

"I am not anti-vaxx, I am not anti-mask, I am just pro-choice," clarified the NHL veteran.

Even more interesting perhaps was the fact that Rinaldo also admitted to not having a political bone in his body, but felt it was necessary to speak out now for the sake of his young children.

"I am not political, I have zero political background ever. I play hockey, I take care of my kids. I just work hard, put my head down and go to work, that's what I do. I'm doing this solely for my kids alone, I have a 4 year old.... a 2 year old, and I want them to look back one day and see that their father was on the right side of history and not the wrong side of history."

Now, it seems that Rinaldo's stance on vaccination however is affecting his ability to "put his head down and go to work", as he puts it. Blue Jackets president John Davidson announced today that Rinaldo will not be welcomed at the team's training camp because he is unvaccinated. Instead he'll report to the Cleveland Monsters of the AHL whose training camp begins later this month.

Check it out:

What's confusing to me in all this is that NHLers have to be vaccinated, but AHL players don't? Won't there be a lot of "inter-mingling" between players in these leagues this season? Frankly, I'm so lost with the NHL and its COVID-19 policies...