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World Juniors 2021: How has COVID-19 impacted the tournament?

The 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship is scheduled to start with a tripleheader on Christmas Day and run by Jan. 5, however earlier than the puck has even dropped in Edmonton, Alta., the event has been tremendously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier than touring by personal constitution to Edmonton and getting into the world junior bubble on Dec. 13, groups needed to enter a bubble of their residence nation by Dec. 6 and take a look at detrimental for the virus 3 times. And per Scott Salmond, Hockey Canada’s senior vice president of nationwide groups, anybody touring to Edmonton is required to check detrimental for COVID-19 from Nov. 29 on. In the event that they take a look at optimistic after that date, even as soon as, they — coach, employees, or participant — are deemed “ineligible to take part in any method on the world junior championship.”

As soon as everyone seems to be in Edmonton, the bubble is predicted to be just like the one NHL groups skilled over the summer season. Protecting it safe is crucial. Groups will likely be quarantined for 4 full days of their lodge rooms upon arrival and topic to day by day testing.

On Dec. 18, as nearly all of groups and gamers have been launched from quarantine to follow — however not totally inducted into the bubble simply but — the IIHF introduced that two groups had optimistic assessments: Germany and Sweden. In consequence, each groups had their quarantines prolonged — which, for the Germans was additional prolonged for 9 gamers on Christmas Eve.

“The Occasion Medical Crew and Govt Committee will make sure that the affected people get the care they require,” the assertion from the IIHF learn. “Our primary precedence is the well being of the people and to make sure that we isolate these instances to maintain the whole group and occasion secure. … The aim of the occasion was to get gamers and employees into the bubble as early as doable as a way to make sure that we may isolate any optimistic instances, and permit the impacted people to finish a compulsory quarantine interval, rejoin their crew and take part within the event. 

“Our crew continues to work with the Organizing Committee and all competing groups, and we are going to consider the standing of all gamers and employees day by day. Our aim stays to work by the quarantine interval and set up a secure bubble for gamers to realize their dream of competing within the World Juniors”

If it comes right down to it, it must be famous that groups don’t want to decorate the utmost variety of skaters and may go well with up simply 15 skaters and two goalies. As well as, the event can nonetheless go on if two of the ten groups can’t compete. As of Dec. 18, the one groups that haven’t reportedly been impacted by COVID-19 are Russia, Finland, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Here is an up to date have a look at how COVID-19 has affected the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship:

Austria

It was introduced on Dec. 8 that defenseman Thimo Nickl (Geese, 2020) returned a optimistic COVID-19 take a look at and can be unable to take part. Nickl was certainly one of simply two gamers (the opposite being Wild prospect Marco Rossi) chosen for the camp who have been drafted by an NHL crew.

Canada

The host crew was the primary one hit by COVID-19 because it started its choice camp sooner than the opposite international locations. Gamers met in Purple Deer, Alta., on Nov. 16.

5 gamers didn’t play within the crew’s first intrasquad sport on Nov. 21: goaltender Devon Levi and forwards Ridly Greig, Dylan Holloway, Alex Newhook and Xavier Simoneau. Levi, Holloway and Newhook all play faculty hockey in america and are topic to Canada’s 14-day quarantine requirement. Per Greig’s agent Kevin Epp, the ahead had examined optimistic for COVID-19 however was asymptomatic. He did attend camp by the primary weekend and was skating with the opposite quarantined gamers.

WORLD JUNIORS 2021: Roster, dates, format for Hockey Canada’s selection camp

Earlier than the primary week was over, on Nov. 21, Hockey Canada introduced {that a} non-core employees member examined optimistic. The employees member and their shut contacts, together with assistant coaches Jason LaBarbera and Michael Dyck, have been positioned in self-isolation. Labarbera and Dyck continued teaching by way of video with Tyler Dietrich quickly taking on Dyck’s power-play duties.

4 days later, on the morning after an intrasquad sport was postponed, the camp was shut down after two unidentified gamers examined optimistic. The crew was quarantined — nobody was allowed to depart their lodge room — for 14 days.

Earlier than Canada returned to the ice on Dec. 8, 5 gamers have been launched. Per Salmond, the selections have been primarily based strictly on well being and never hockey because the gamers have been “unfit to proceed to play primarily based on return-to-play protocols.”

The 5 gamers have been defensemen Matthew Robertson (Rangers, 2019), Mason Millman (Flyers, 2019) and Daemon Hunt (Wild, 2020) and forwards Simoneau (2021 draft prospect) and Greig (Senators, 2020).

Germany

The Germans misplaced 4 gamers for the event: goaltender Tobias Ancicka and forwards Lukas Reichel (Blackhawks, 2020), Nino Kinder and Elias Linder. Dropping Ancicka, Reichel and Kinder, who performed in final yr’s event, is an enormous blow to the lineup. Reichel mixed with John-Jason Peterka and Tim Stutzle for 16 factors on the 2020 championship and the trio was anticipated to be reunited because the crew’s prime line. Ancicka was trying just like the nation’s prime netminder. Linder didn’t play within the 2020 WJC.

Per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, all employees and gamers examined detrimental earlier than heading to Alberta however, as famous above, Germany had optimistic assessments in Edmonton. Per the discharge, eight gamers examined optimistic and the crew could have its quarantine prolonged till Dec. 24.

With the prolonged quarantine, Germany will likely be unable to compete in exhibition video games with Austria (Dec. 21) and the Czech Republic (Dec. 23). The Germans are scheduled, for now, to open their 2021 bid on Dec. 25 in opposition to Finland earlier than assembly Canada on Boxing Day.

Germany’s quarantine woes continued, it was introduced on Dec. 24, as one extra participant examined optimistic and can seemingly miss everything of the event; he should quarantine until Jan. 4. Ten gamers have been launched on Christmas Eve and be part of the six who have been beforehand granted entry to the bubble. Of the remaining eight gamers in quarantine, eight should stay in quarantine till Dec. 27 and can miss the crew’s first two round-robin video games in opposition to Finland (Dec. 25) and Canada (Dec. 26). The opposite 5 should quarantine till Dec. 29, which would go away them just one group-stage sport (Dec. 30 vs. Switzerland) left on the schedule.

Primarily based on these updates, it will be a depleted roster with the expectation that the Germans will solely be capable of ice 14 skaters (one being Tim Stuetzle) and two goalies for the primary two video games. 

Sweden

The Swedes might have been hit hardest by COVID-19. Even earlier than attending to camp on Dec. 6, video coach Adam Almqvist and forwards Karl Henriksson (Rangers, 2019) and William Eklund (2021 draft) examined optimistic and have been ineligible to affix the crew.

Two days later, the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation introduced that head coach Tomas Monten, assistant coach Anders Lundberg, ahead Albin Grewe (Purple Wings, 2019) and defenseman William Wallinder (Purple Wings, 2020) had examined optimistic for the virus. The subsequent day, goalie coach Nizze Landen was faraway from eligibility.

“That is clearly worrying and a troublesome scenario the place our final accountability is the protection of gamers and leaders,” Swedish federation secretary-general Johan Stark stated in an announcement on the group’s web site.

“This can be a critical scenario from a security perspective and we should observe this hour by hour. We even have an in depth dialogue with the Worldwide Ice Hockey Federation to explain our scenario and assessment our options.”

Joel Ronnmark, the one coach left on the bench, was named head coach on Dec. 11. Prior to now two world juniors, he served as an assistant coach. Sweden additionally added Anders Eriksen, coach of the U18 crew, on Wednesday and introduced that the Oilers’ Jason Pietrzykowski will function video coach.

Sweden additionally had optimistic take a look at ends in Edmonton, with two staffers testing optimistic. The crew’s quarantine has been prolonged to Dec. 21; nevertheless, a number of gamers have been launched due to PCR assessments exhibiting earlier an infection and, due to this fact, seemingly immunity. Per Hockeysverige.se’s Uffe Bodin, these gamers are forwards Oscar Bjerselius (2021 draft eligible), Arvid Costmar (VAN), Emil Heineman (FLA), Zion Nybeck (CAR), Oskar Olausson (2021 draft eligible) and Theodor Niederbach (DET) and goalie Calle Clang (PIT).

Switzerland

The Swiss are the newest crew to have gamers eliminated due to COVID-19 in forwards Yves Stoffel, Jannik Canova and Kevin Lindemann. Stoffel examined optimistic within the crew’s second spherical of testing and Canova was an in depth contact. Lindemann examined optimistic within the first spherical of testing.

United States

Earlier than the U.S. headed to its brief camp in Plymouth, Mich., three gamers have been substituted on the roster: ahead Robert Mastrosimone (Purple Wings, 2019), defenseman Alex Vlasic (Blackhawks, 2019) and goaltender Drew Commesso (Blackhawks, 2020). The three attend Boston College, and this system suspended all crew actions following a optimistic take a look at on Dec. 3. 

USA Hockey added defensemen Tyler Kleven (Senators, 2020) and Hunter Skinner (Rangers, 2019) and goaltender Logan Stein to the camp roster.

On Dec. 12, Crew USA made its roster cuts, and in a stunning transfer, John Beecher and Thomas Bordeleau have been launched. The Boston Globe’s Matt Porter then confirmed by Beecher’s father that the Bruins prospect examined optimistic for COVID-19, which was later confirmed by basic supervisor John Vanbiesbrouck. Bordeleau, who roomed with Beecher, was additionally despatched residence as he was an in depth contact. 

IIHF

Yet one more wrinkle: It was revealed on Dec. 8 that Worldwide Ice Hockey Federation president René Fasel and basic secretary Horst Lichtner each examined optimistic for COVID-19.

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