One of the intriguing prospects at this Canadiens rookie camp was Jesse Ylönen. Choice of 2e tower (35e overall) in the 2018 draft, the Finn was probably hoping to knock on the big club’s door after a season of 17 points (9 goals, 8 assists) in 29 games last year, with the Laval Rocket.
• Read also: CH: Jesse Ylönen decided not to get the vaccine
But Ylönen has already hit a wall. The right winger refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19. If the vaccine remains a personal choice, this decision could seriously complicate the life of the young hockey player.
Since the start of the rookie camp, Ylönen has still not donned the uniform of the Habs. Jean-François Houle, head coach of the Laval Rocket, left him out for the two games against the Ottawa Senators.
After the 4-3 loss in this second game, Houle was walking on eggshells to talk about Ylönen’s case.
“We’re going to manage this as best we can,” said Houle. We will respect what the NHL says, we will follow the protocols. It’s a personal decision for Ylönen. “
Since he did not receive the two doses of the vaccine, Ylönen went into quarantine when he arrived in Canada. He has completed his period of isolation, but hasn’t skated enough in the past few days to put on his team’s uniform in a game.
It’s up to the CEO to decide
From a simple logistical point of view, Ylönen is in a very delicate position. He might not get permission to travel to the United States. The Rocket will play 22 of its 72 games on American soil.
If the leaders of the American League have not yet completely fine-tuned their protocol for COVID-19, the leaders of the NHL have already instituted tough rules against unvaccinated players.
The NHL will allow its unvaccinated players to play, but there will be several barriers in their path. If border restrictions prevent them from traveling or if they contract COVID-19 due to non-compliance with protocols, they will be suspended without pay.
In such a context, could Ylönen spend the next season without receiving his vaccine? “I have no idea,” replied Houle. It will depend on what Marc Bergevin wants to do. “
Houle also made it clear that he didn’t have time to sit down with his young hopeful to talk to him.
“I haven’t spoken to him,” he said. It’s a personal choice. “
A good winger
Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, another great CH hope at this camp, described Ylönen, the hockey player.
“It would be a big loss, we want to see it with us,” said Harvey-Pinard. Jesse is an impact player on a team. He has great offensive skills, but also defensively. He’s a guy we use in all areas of the game. It would be important for him to be there for us. ”
The Lefebvre case in Columbus
In Columbus, the Blue Jackets freed Sylvain Lefebvre before the start of the camp. Unvaccinated for personal reasons, Lefebvre thus lost a three-year contract as Brad Larsen’s assistant. Jarmo Kekäläinen, the general manager of the Blue Jackets, justified the dismissal of Lefebvre by his inability to fulfill his mandate as coach.
“We had to end our association because he couldn’t do his job,” Kekäläinen told the site The Athletic. We need a coach. If you are not vaccinated, you cannot do your job as a coach. You can’t be in the locker room, can’t be in the coaches room, can’t be on the bench, can’t be on the plane with us … We need a coach. “