Brent Sutter had more on his mind on Monday than an evening clash with the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings.
Prior to the contest at the Centrium, the Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter called his son Brandon, a former Rebel and current Vancouver Canucks forward who has been inflicted with a variation of the COVID-19 virus.
In all, 18 Canucks players and three members of the team’s coaching staff have been infected with the virus which has also spread to family members.
“I talked to him tonight. He’s feeling a little better,” said Brent. “Obviously, there’s a huge concern there with not just the players but the family members too.
“There have been family members who have also tested positive and are sick with it too. Everyone is affected and hopefully over time you pray that it’s not going to have an impact on someone moving forward and getting over this.”
The emerging P.1 variant of the disease, first identified in Brazil, is extremely contagious and spreading across areas of Canada, including Alberta and British Columbia.
It is feared that the variant may also cause long-lasting health complications.
“That’s the unknown with this variant, no one really knows,” said Brent Sutter. “From what I’ve been told and from what everyone is saying, it’s the Brazilian variant and it’s knocked some guys pretty hard.
“Right now you just want everyone to get healthy again, get back to some normalcy. Right now hockey is the least of these guys’ worries. They’re concerned about their families who are sick too.
“You have guys whose wives are preganant and have young kids. It’s certainly something that has been hard on everyone there and certainly hard on people on the outside who can’t do anything to help out.
“It’s just something they have to weather through and get back to being healthy. Hopefully it will be that when it’s all said and done.”