Ward deferring to health professionals on decision to wear mask during practice

Jul 13, 2020; Calgary, Alberta, CANADA; Calgary Flames head coach Geoff Ward talking to the players during a NHL workout at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-429295 Sergei Belski / USA TODAY Sports

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At the moment, Albertans are urged to wear face coverings as much as possible in public and particularly indoors as new cases of COVID-19 continue to rise but it is not mandatory.

The National Hockey League has also not made it mandatory for coaching staff or players while they’re on the ice or working out to wear them and, as such, Geoff Ward will stick to wearing his only when he is not directing practice.

“I think right now I’ll defer to the health (professionals) so if (Flames trainer) Kent Kobelka tells me I should be wearing a mask on the ice, I will,” said the Calgary Flames head coach. “Other than that, if he tells me I don’t need to and I’m OK to not wear a mask out there, that’s the way I’ll go.”

While some coaches across the NHL did opt to wear masks on Monday as Phase 3 kicked off with training camps — the Boston Bruins coaching staff wore face coverings during their skate, for example — Ward explained that because it is not mandatory and it would hinder his ability to properly execute practice, he’ll go mask free. Also not wearing masks were assistant coaches Ryan Huska, Martin Gelinas, and Ray Edwards. Only goalie coach Jordan Sigalet, who has multiple sclerosis, was wearing a mask on the ice.

“Because I just think the things you’re trying to yell on the ice they can get a little muffled through the mask. If I don’t have to wear one, I won’t,” Ward said. “But if it gets to the point where the medical people feel I have to wear one, I’ll put one on.”