Canada to ban unvaccinated professional athletes, Indiana Pacers return March 26

Canada is taking no risk with COVID-19, and its latest move could affect the Indiana Pacers.

From January 15, unvaccinated professional and amateur athletes will no longer be allowed to enter the country, Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino said on Friday.

There is currently a national interest exemption that has allowed unvaccinated athletes to enter Canada and compete for their respective teams and leagues, but that will change early next year.

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The decision to ban unvaccinated professional athletes will affect NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer, all of which have at least one franchise based in Canada. The only Canadian team in the NBA is the Toronto Raptors.

The Pacers lost 118-100 to Toronto on October 27 and are set to face the Raptors again in Toronto on March 26.

When asked if all of his players were fully vaccinated ahead of Saturday’s home game against New Orleans, Indiana coach Rick Carlisle declined to share.

“This is the first I hear of (Canada bans unvaccinated professional athletes from entering its country),” Carlisle said. “No, we haven’t had an internal discussion about this, but it’s no surprise that stuff like this happens. We’re like every other team in the NBA. We’ll deal with these things as needed and when needed. as they arise. “

Ahead of the season, Carlisle said the team’s vaccination rate is “very high” and all coaching staff are fully vaccinated, according to WISH-TV.

Kevin Pritchard, president of basketball operations for the Pacers, said the team’s roster of 20 training camp players was 90-95% vaccinated.

The Pacers currently have 17 players, including two-time all-star Domantas Sabonis and substitute playmaker TJ McConnell, both of whom were vaccinated on camera before the end of last season.

Follow IndyStar Pacers beating writer James Boyd on Twitter: @RomeovilleKid. Contact him by email: [email protected]

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