This Is What A Bad Teammate Looks Like

Love it or hate it, hockey is a game that puts team over self.

Though they are toxic in nature, we’ve heard mantras of sacrifice your body, take the hit, block the shot, put the team first.

To be a good teammate without these stagnant platitudes, one must still contribute to the collective. Each individual needs to use their unique skills to assist others; to help. Team success depends on each person playing their role, supporting one another, and working to achieve common goals.

That’s why this week has exposed the NHL’s worst teammates.

Players like Tyler Bertuzzi, Tyson Jarry, Zac Rinaldo, Josh Archibald, and Bode Wilde have shown themselves to be bad teammates whether you prescribe to the self sacrifice model, or the individuals within the collective model.

If you’re in the sacrifice your body group; these players aren’t even willing to protect their bodies for their team, let alone get to the physical challenges that arise during a game or season. They are willing to risk carrying a deadly virus into a group where peak athletic performance and health are a requirement of the job, and a necessity for team success.

Without making judgements on all of these players, let’s assume that those who choose to remain unvaccinated are more likely to participate in social circles that hold similar ideology related to the societal responsibilities of public health. They are more likely to be around others who are unmasked and unvaccinated, who do not believe the simple science of how this virus spreads.

With that in mind, they are almost certainly more likely to come into contact with the virus. What if they do bring this into a locker room, forcing a teammate out of the lineup, or worse, transmitting the virus to family members of teammates who may be too young to be vaccinated, or are immunocompromised? The selfishness of these “teammates” is astounding.

In Josh Archibald’s case, he’s playing on the same team as Alex Stalock, the Edmonton Oilers netminder who will miss the entire season due to a COVID-19 related heart condition. Talk about a slap in the face to a teammate who would undoubtedly do anything to trade places with him.

Tyler Bertuzzi will miss each of the Detroit Red Wings’ road games in Canada, as he is unable to cross the border into Canada due to his vaccination status without quarantining.

The scientific facts cannot be disputed. Vaccines save lives. This virus is more dangerous and more easily spread by unvaccinated people. Masks work, and social distancing works.

Reading some of the comments from these men shows how uneducated, selfish, and narcissistic they are.

For example, Bode Wilde claimed it was his human right to play hockey. Hockey is a privilege, played most often by the most privileged in our society. In a world where access to clean drinking water is not a universal human right, skating on enough frozen fresh water to save lives is far from a right. Remember, Bode Wilde gets paid $792,500 for his self proclaimed “human right.” I wonder what human rights he believes the homeless deserve?

Zan Rinaldo spoke at a PPC rally in Hamilton. Perhaps he should read their party platform, as 22 of the 29 players listed on the Columbus Blue Jackets initial roster would be considered immigrants, and unwelcomed in Canada by the PPC. They are defined as a “threat.” When the only threat to the Columbus Blue Jackets, is a lone player, Rinaldo himself, risking the health of every other player.

To the teams who took a hard line against these players, good for them. They chose a group of players to represent their team that were willing to work toward a common goal, to protect each other, support each other, and to protect the children and families of their teammates.

The only way to end this pandemic, and get people back to our privileges, like going to professional sporting games, eating at restaurants, travelling, and attending concerts, is to do the socially responsible thing, protecting others, by getting vaccinated.

If a member of the Detroit Red Wings, or Pittsburgh Penguins, or Edmonton Oilers can’t even step into the dressing room without the thought that another member of their organization is putting their personal health, and the health of their family at risk due to beliefs in unfounded conspiracies, disinformation, and misinformation, how can they trust they’ll do their part on the ice?

Tyler Bertuzzi, Josh Archibald, Tristan Jarry, Bode Wilde, Zac Rinaldo, and any one of the 15-20 unvaccinated players out of more than 700 NHLers should be embarrassed, and know, unequivocally, that they are the worst possible teammates in the league.

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