The International Ice Hockey Federation men’s U20 world junior championships in Alberta have now seen a second game forfeited over COVID-19 protocols. On Tuesday, the United States forfeited against Switzerland thanks to a mandatory team quarantine after two players tested positive. On Wednesday, Czechia (the Czech Republic) forfeited against Finland thanks to the same mandatory quarantine, with this one coming after one positive test. Here’s the IIHF announcement of that:
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) December 29, 2021
As TSN’s Bob McKenzie noted, the 24-hour quarantine may not be enough time for Czechia (seen above during a 2-1 overtime loss to Germany Monday to make their next game either:
Now things get, uh, interesting. The 0-3 CZE next scheduled game is tomorrow at 2:30 MT vs. AUT. But that doesn’t give them enough time to get the required two -ve tests in 24 hours to get out of hotel room quarantine. Could we, therefore, see a schedule change?
— Bobby Margarita (@TSNBobMcKenzie) December 29, 2021
This is also notable considering that there have now been COVID forfeits at both tournament locations, as the U.S. is in the preliminary group playing in Red Deer and Czechia is in the group in Edmonton (about an hour and 45 minute drive away). And that adds to the challenges of continuing on with this tournament, especially with strict protocols requiring team-wide quarantine after a single positive test. It may also add to the criticism for the IIHF for pushing ahead with this at the same time they canceled the upcoming women’s U18 world juniors (for the second straight year).
[TSN; image screengrabbed from a TSN.ca video]