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New Jersey Devils

Blackwood Explains Decision to get Vaccinated

After initially holding off on being vaccinated for COVID-19, New Jersey Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood has changed his mind.

When NHL training camps first began in September, there was word that only a select few players throughout the league remained unvaccinated.

The most prominent of the few who were on that list was Mackenzie Blackwood, who is the starting netminder for the New Jersey Devils. The 24-year-old didn’t get overly specific when asked at the time why he wasn’t vaccinated, simply stating that he was still undecided and had some health issues he needed to sort out.

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His decision could have been a fairly significant problem for the Devils this season, as he wouldn’t have been able to play in any games north of the border. However, Blackwood has since changed his stance and has chosen to get vaccinated. While he said his main reason for doing so was for his teammates, he also mentioned that the opportunity to possibly represent Team Canada at the 2022 Winter Olympics, something he wouldn’t have been able to do had he remained unvaccinated, played a major role as well.

MacKenzie Blackwood Devils goaltender
MacKenzie Blackwood Devils goaltender

“I don’t want to be the person that causes (New Jersey) to lose games when they rely on me,” he said. “Also, not being able to go to Canada is huge.

“And lastly but the potential chance at the Olympics. That’s another factor. There’s a whole list of things. I think it was an accumulation of them all.”

Blackwood was one of six goaltenders named to be listed by Team Canada as a possibility for the upcoming Olympics, alongside Carey Price, Marc-Andre Fleury, Jordan Binnington, Carter Hart, and Darcy Kuemper. It will be a tough team to crack, but a strong first half of the 2021-22 season could be enough to earn himself a spot.

Unfortunately, Blackwood has yet to make his debut in 2021-22 due to a heel injury that currently has him on the injured reserve. He is expected to be back soon, however, which is great news for a Devils team who has had to rely on Scott Wedgewood and Nico Daws as of late, as regular backup Jonathan Bernier has also been forced to miss some time due to a lower-body injury.

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