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Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon will miss the start of the regular season after testing positive for COVID-19.
Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic confirmed the diagnosis Tuesday, saying MacKinnon is asymptomatic but will miss the team’s season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday.
The news came after the team announced MacKinnon missed Tuesday’s practice because of the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols.
Adrian Dater of Colorado Hockey Now reported in April that the entire Avalanche organization has been fully vaccinated.
MacKinnon’s positive test comes after the team announced last Thursday that head coach Jared Bednar had a positive COVID-19 test.
MacKinnon’s status for Saturday’s home game against the St. Louis Blues is unclear, though Sakic told reporters they hope to have the 26-year-old back for that contest.
Per NHL protocols for the 2021-22 season, players must return two negative tests 24 hours apart before they can be cleared to return.
MacKinnon is entering his ninth season with the Avalanche. The Nova Scotia native was the No. 1 overall pick by the franchise in the 2013 NHL draft and has scored 560 points in 573 career games.
The Avs have made the playoffs in each of the past four seasons. They won the West Division title in 2020-21, the franchise’s first division championship since 2013-14.