Watch CBS News

Possible Coronavirus Spread Through Youth Hockey Players In New England Under Investigation

EXETER, N.H. (CBS/AP) — Public health officials in multiple northeastern U.S. states are investigating the possible spread of the coronavirus among youth hockey players.

The New York State Amateur Hockey Association said last week that some of its players tested positive for the virus after attending a skills clinic in New Hampshire and playing in a tournament in Connecticut. Some players are "very sick," the association said, and have passed the virus to family members.

While ice hockey competitions are allowed in Connecticut and New Hampshire, they are prohibited in New York and Massachusetts. In a letter distributed last week, the New York association criticized "overzealous coaches and parents" for traveling across state lines.

"Participating in out-of-state tournaments, with players from other states, is not a very smart decision," it wrote. "These reckless actions resulting in sick players and others will not help our cause at all."

According to the Boston Globe, that at least a dozen players from New York tested positive after the July 31-Aug. 2 tournament in Connecticut, as did a Massachusetts teenager who competed with a New York team and later attended the New Hampshire clinic.

A statement from The Rinks at Exeter in New Hampshire said a 14-year-old boy who attended the Connecticut tournament also went to a camp put on by an outside company at The Rinks on Aug. 3 and 4 and later tested positive for COVID-19.

"When the player came to our facility, he showed no symptoms of COVID-19 and had no reason to believe he had been exposed. His family was notified on Tuesday, August 4 that teammates he played with in Connecticut had tested positive for COVID-19. The player was immediately removed from camp and was tested for COVID-19. While the individual player did test positive, his family members all tested negative," said the rink.

The facility said it followed all safety protocols, but the New Hampshire attorney general's office said it is reviewing complaints.

Connecticut public health officials did not respond to the Globe's requests for comment, but the Massachusetts Department of Public Health said it is working with other New England states to coordinate contact tracing.

Dr. Shira Doron, an infectious disease specialist at Tufts Medical Center, said coaches and athletes may consider infection rates in neighboring states low enough to participate in contact sports, but there is inherent danger.

The teenager "cheated the system by leaving the state and, lo and behold, there was a risk associated with close contact sports," she said.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.