The Chicago Blackhawks have yet to have a player diagnosed with mumps during a recent outbreak among several NHL teams, but the disease is still spreading and could pose an issue for the team at some point.
According to New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello, Devils forward Travis Zajac and defenseman Adam Larsson were both diagnosed with mumps on Wednesday morning. Neither player was in the lineup for the Devils in Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the Blackhawks in Newark, but with the possibility of players carrying the disease for two to four weeks without showing symptoms, the news can’t be welcome for Blackhawks players and coaches.
The team has declined to describe what they are doing to prevent the disease from hitting their locker room, but other teams have offered MMR booster shots in the wake of the outbreak. The NHL is leaving it up to teams to decide whether or not to take this step. Nine other NHL players have been diagnosed with mumps so far this season.
“It is certainly an outbreak that was unexpected and has caused unwanted disruption at the club level, but it’s not something we have any significant control over,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in an email to the Chicago Tribune. “As long as our clubs are doing what they need to do to minimize risk of contraction, we are hopeful that the wave of cases will run its course.”
The Minnesota Wild have been hit with five cases of the disease, while the Anaheim Ducks, St. Louis Blues, and New York Rangers have also been affected.