NHL GM steps behind the bench after entire coaching staff forced to isolate per COVID-19 protocols

NHL GM steps behind the bench after entire coaching staff forced to isolate per COVID-19 protocols

It’s not often in sports where a team’s general manager steps out from behind the shadows of the front office to coach a game but that’s exactly what happened for the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night because of the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols. 

Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon stepped up as coach in Tuesday’s game against the St. Louis Blues after head coach Peter DeBoer, assistants Ryan Craig, Ryan McGill, and Steve Spott, goaltending coach Mike Rosati and video coach Tommy Cruz were forced to isolate after a positive test result. 

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“We had an exposure on our coaching staff, so the best way to handle that is to isolate the entire staff,” McCrimmon said, via NHL.com. “It’s not a case where the entire staff tested positive. Most [of them] didn’t, quite frankly, but the protocol is such that you pull those people from the group.”

He added, “Fortunately there’s been no positive tests for players. Based on how the day unfolded, we took the steps that we did to best prepare our team to play tonight.”

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McCrimmon, with the help of Vegas’ AHL affiliate coaching staff, stepped behind the bench but the Knights ultimately lost 5-4 in a shootout, marking their second loss of the season (5-1-1). 

“I think that throughout a season, and especially this one with it being the way that it is, you’re going to face adversity,” Vegas defenseman Alec Martinez said after the game, via NHL.com. “This is probably not the first time you’re going to see something like that happen in the league, but I’m proud of the way the guys handled it.” 

Vegas will close its practice facility on Wednesday but the team should return Thursday to close out their two-game series against the Blues. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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