There are as many turns as there are in the episode of Jasmine, But here we are: the moment to know for sure if we can make it to the 2021 Junior World Championship.
This Friday morning the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) will unveil the results of the COVID-19 tests taken by players and staff this week. Ten members of the delegation have been in custody in Edmonton since Sunday. They underwent one test per day. This is a strict restriction, no one is allowed to leave their hotel room at this time. Meals are provided for each room. Similar to last summer’s NHL playoffs, hotels are for the exclusive use of tournament participants and support staff.
While there was some suspense around Friday’s announcement, the COVID-19 cases in recent weeks have changed the plans of many teams. Due to Hockey Canada’s protocol for COVID-19, the Canadian team cut off five players (Javier Simoneau, Matthew Robertson, Demon Hunt, Ridley Greig and Mason Millman). Austrian defenseman Timo Nickel has lost his services and one of their two players has entered the NHL. Germany are without four players, including first-round pick Lucas Richel in the final draft. Sweden lost four players throughout their coaching staff. The situation is that the team has even hired an Edmonton Oilers video coach for the duration of the tournament! Switzerland will lose three players. For their part, the Americans cut off three players playing at Boston University on December 6, and had to say no to Thomas Board and John Beecher before leaving for Edmonton.
IIHF clearly does not intend to confuse the protocol. Sweden manager Jonas Franన్ois learned this in a tough way; Upon arriving at the hotel, he realized he had left some equipment at the airport. So he set out to fetch the said material, which means he came out of the bubble. He was therefore immediately excluded from the tournament. Players and delegates also had to undergo tests before leaving for Edmonton. Ditto to media members. Our colleague Patrick Friolet from RDS did three screening tests in the week before leaving for the capital, Alberta.
What if there is a positive case?
The killing question is: How does IIHF cope if someone tests positive during quarantine? Exclude the entire team? Tap An explanation was sought by email from an IIHF representative for this tournament; At the time of posting, he still has not responded to the email. Hockey Canada Vice President Scott Salmond said last week that the tournament could go ahead if at least 8 of the 10 teams can play. He said at least 18 players would have to be counted for each formation.
If the results are positive and the tournament takes place, the first warm-up matches will take place on December 20 (United States v Switzerland, Finland v Czech Republic). Canada will face Sweden on December 21 and Russia on December 23. For many players it will be an ice breaker for the 2020-2021 season. In Hobbs, for example, Kaiden Guhle, the team’s first choice last October, has not played a single game since last March. For now, Guhle should be in Team Canada’s top six defense. Two other CH representatives, Cole Cofield (United States) and John Mysak (Czech Republic) have played 10 and 11 games this season, respectively.