After Forfeited Games, Int'l. Hockey Tourney Ends Early

Remainder of world juniors in Canada has been called off amid fears of a COVID outbreak
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 28, 2021 5:05 PM CST
Updated Dec 30, 2021 9:35 AM CST
US Hockey Team Forfeits World Junior Game Over COVID
Players from the Slovakian team gather on the ice after the IIHF world junior hockey championship was canceled in Red Deer, Alberta, on Wednesday.   (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

Update: The remainder of the world junior hockey championship in Canada has been canceled over fears of a COVID-19 outbreak. The International Ice Hockey Federation made the announcement Wednesday on the recommendation of medical officials, per the AP. Citing the spread of the omicron variant, the IIHF canceled the rest of the tournament "to ensure the health and safety of all participants." Two games had already been forfeited because of positive coronavirus test results among US and Czech players. The IIHF Council determined the integrity of the event had been compromised by the forfeits, leading to the cancellation. Teams were tested and quarantined after they arrived in Canada on Dec. 15. Officials say the tournament could resume in the summer. Our story from Tuesday follows:

The US was forced to forfeit its game at the world junior championship against Switzerland on Tuesday after two players tested positive for the coronavirus. Those positive COVID-19 test results led to a mandated team quarantine. The US as a result was unable to play Tuesday under tournament rules, per the AP. "We're extremely disappointed, especially for our players," US national junior team general manager John Vanbiesbrouck said in a statement. "We’re operating an ever-changing landscape, and that’s very challenging. We've followed the tournament protocol from the outside and will continue to do everything we can to ensure players have the opportunity to compete at the world junior championship."

The International Ice Hockey Federation said the team’s quarantine status will be evaluated later to determine the status of the Americans' next game scheduled for Wednesday against Sweden. Switzerland was awarded a 1-0 victory over the US from the forfeit. The US is the defending champion at the tournament for the world's best men's hockey players under age 20. The US beat Slovakia 3-0 Sunday night in its first preliminary round game. Teams that traveled to Canada quarantined for two days after their Dec. 15 arrival with just over 5,800 tests conducted on 462 players, staff, and game officials before the tournament opened Sunday, according to the IIHF.

(More ice hockey team stories.)

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