Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi’s refusal to receive COVID-19 vaccines has proven a costly stand to take.
The Sudbury product will miss all nine of Detroit’s games in Canada this season and will lose out on a chunk of his US$4.25-million salary, according to The Canadian Press.
Border restrictions prevent him from crossing into Canada.
"Just personal choice, freedom of choice," Bertuzzi said of remaining unvaccinated. "It was a life decision."
The Detroit Free Press reported that Bertuzzi declined to elaborate on this decision or the scientific evidence supporting the use of vaccinations.
Bertuzzi, 26, is expecting his and fiancée Ashley Greasley’s first baby, and he cited his personal choice as being made with his “family and fiancée's family.”
By the Detroit Free Press’s estimation, Bertuzzi is foregoing more than $400,000 in pay by missing out on hockey activities in Canada.
He is the only member of the team to refuse a vaccine and general manager Steve Yzerman said they can’t force anyone to get the vaccine.
Bertuzzi was drafted by the Red Wings in 2013 and, as reported at the time, wanted to play hockey as often as possible during his younger days, regardless of sickness or injury.
“Nothing would stop me from playing hockey,” said Bertuzzi, then 18 years of age. “I always want to be on the ice.”
He once even tried to fake being fine despite suffering from the flu, played a game, and left the bench to vomit between shifts.
This dedication to hitting the rink no matter what appears to have hit a brick wall when it comes to getting vaccinated against COVID-19.