nb-bill-schurman

Bill Schurman, the general manager of the Moncton Wildcats, said his team has been vaccinated against the swine flu. ((CBC))

The general manager of the Moncton Wildcats hockey team is defending the decision to vaccinate its players against swine flu as hundreds of others across the region wait in long lines to get their shots.

Bill Schurman said the organization started planning for the H1N1 influenza pandemic in late summer and was able to get enough seasonal and swine flu shots for all 25 players on the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team.

"We ordered it," he told CBC News on Monday. "I mean, there's nothing else that I can say other than we as an organization, we're responsible for these players and they're very active and high-profile and we have our own medical staff.

"We're not apologizing for that. Actually, it's something that the organization is very proud of."

A spokesperson with the QMJHL said it did not purchase the vaccine and that its only role was sending H1N1 protocol guidelines to its teams.

Schurman said his team members make public appearances at hospitals, seniors homes and schools, and the organization wanted to ensure the players were vaccinated before they were sent out in public.

"When this first started, we took the pro-active approach to order the product," he said.

Game cancelled

Meanwhile, Sunday's scheduled game between the Wildcats and the Montreal Juniors was cancelled because too many players on the Wildcats were ill or injured.

Schurman said about eight were sick with flu-like symptoms. He said the team's medical staff has done some preliminary testing and so far, no players have tested positive for H1N1.

"Some of what is happening is a result of getting the injection. There are some people who react to that," he said. "We just did not have enough players to keep the game going."

QMJHL rules state that a team must have at least 16 members to play; the Wildcats had 11.