Over 30 Boston and Providence players are set to take to the ice Monday morning at Warrior Ice Arena, signaling the start of Phase 3 of the NHL’s extensive “Return To Play” plan.
But one veteran blueliner will not be spotted on the sheet at the Bruins’ team facility, as Steven Kampfer announced on social media Saturday night that he has opted out of the revamped Stanley Cup Playoffs tournament — citing the health of his family.
“After speaking with my wife, family and my agent, I have decided that I am opting out of the return to play,” Kampfer said on Twitter. “This was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. My wife and son have a congenital heart defect which can cause complications with Covid-19. We have taken this very seriously. Family will always be my priority. I will be rooting for my teammates and hope we can bring the Cup back to Boston! Everyone stay healthy and safe.”
Kampfer is, as of Saturday night, the seventh NHLer to opt out of the league’s return this summer — joining Karl Alzner, Mike Green, Sven Baertschi, Travis Hamonic, Roman Polak and Zach Trotman.
Per the terms of the Return to Play protocols and CBA extension that were ratified on Friday evening, players have until Monday to inform their clubs if they are going to opt out of the NHL’s return.
I don't think I'm really breaking any new ground here — given the times we're currently living in — but please spare me any and all faux outrage that's inevitably going to spout out as more of these athletes have the audacity to value the health and wellbeing of themselves and their family over the game of hockey.
As Kampfer noted in his announcement, making the call to sit out of what could be a deep playoff run for Boston was "one of the hardest decisions" that he's ever had to make, but given the potential health complications involving both Kampfer's wife and son, who just recently celebrated his first birthday, there should be absolutely no qualms from anyone about his decision to put family first in this scenario.
From an X's and O's perspective,