When Billions of Dollars Are Involved, Chances Are Health Issues Be Damned
On Saturday, October 24, 2009 the Edmonton Oilers came to Calgary for a highly anticipated Battle of Alberta that was previewed by rivalry and controversy from their last contest in Edmonton.
During this trip, Mike Comrie and Gilbert Brule stayed home with the flu, while J.F. Jacques sat out of the lineup with a sore throat.
This obviously begs the question: what happens if a player or member of team personnel is officially diagnosed with the H1N1 virus? Will NHL teams hide this like they do injuries in the playoffs by calling it an "upper body" ailment? To do so puts everyone in contact at risk, including fans, game day staff (concession kitchen, parking lot attendants, ushers...), media, security, and the list goes on.
The Calgary Herald's Ken Warren wrote this article on September 1, 2009: http://www.calgaryherald.com/sports/story.html?id=1950579. However, nobody seems to be talking about the possibility. Perhaps they are waiting to develop a game plan after the fact.
Somehow, I'm personally not convinced yet of the pandemic, but even if it is viable, I highly doubt that teams and leagues, particularly the NHL when injuries are so secretive, will not run business as usual. But if the pandemic is real, to do so will risk a public relations scandal much more volatile than losing money.