All 10 teams participating in this year’s World Junior Championship arrived in Edmonton, Alberta on Sunday. Upon arrival all players, staff and other participants were immediately tested for COVID-19 and then entered into a mandatory quarantine for four days. The initial test results were released by the IIHF on Friday, with 10 positive cases reported.
Team Germany reported 8 players that tested positive for COVID-19. Team Sweden reported that 2 staff members tested positive for COVID-19. No other positives from the 10 teams were reported.
Based on the pre-event medical plan, Team Germany will remain in quarantine until December 24, a day before the start of the tournament, while Team Sweden will remain in quarantine until December 21, with the exception of players and staff who are exempt from serving a longer quarantine period based on previous PCR positive COVID-19 test that provide a personal immunity and no threat of infection to others.
All other teams were released from quarantine on Friday to begin tournament preparations.
Exhibition games begin this Sunday, December 20, when Team USA faces Team Switzerland at 6:00PM ET. Capitals prospect Martin Hugo Has and the Czech Republic face Team Finland at 9:30 PM on Sunday. Capitals prospect Connor McMichael and Team Canada face Team Sweden at 6:00PM on Monday, December 21.
The tournament begins next Friday, December 25 when Team USA faces Team Russia.
MORE FROM THE IIHF
The IIHF would like to provide an update following the arrival and quarantine period of all 10 competing teams and tournament officials from the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship Bubble.
Since the teams have entered the competition bubble, a total of over 2,000 tests were conducted on all players, staff, and game officials.
In total, there were 10 positive tests involving two teams:
Team Germany: 8 players tested positive for COVID-19
Team Sweden: 2 staff members tested positive for COVID-19
The Event Medical Team, a five-member panel of Canadian and International medical experts, reviewed each case on an individual basis.
Based on the pre-event medical plan and in consultation with Alberta Health Services (AHS), the following steps are being taken:
Team Germany will remain in quarantine until 24 December, while Team Sweden will remain in quarantine until 21 December, with the exception of players and staff who are exempt from serving a longer quarantine period based on previous PCR positive COVID-19 test that provide a personal immunity and no threat of infection to others.
The above-mentioned decisions have been made through open and daily communication of present testing results to Alberta Health Service, and under the guidance of both AHS and the IIHF medical staff in order to comply with the most current medical protocols.
All other teams will be released from the quarantine period only once all test results have been confirmed. Among the tests conducted on game officials as well as IIHF, Local Organizing Committee, and broadcasting staff there have been no confirmed positive cases reported.
The Event Executive Committee – which includes Luc Tardif, event co-chair, Frank Gonzalez, event co-chair, Tom Renney, chief executive officer of Hockey Canada, and Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer of Hockey Canada – has been receiving regular updates via the Event Medical Committee and will continue to review the testing results.
The Event Executive Committee released the following statement:
The Event Medical Team and Executive Committee will ensure that the affected individuals get the care they require. Our number one priority is the health of the individuals and to ensure that we isolate these cases to keep the entire community and event safe.
The medical plan was built with a quarantine period for participating teams before departure and upon arrival in Canada. We worked closely with Alberta Health Services and the Canadian Government to build a plan that is endorsed by medical experts and supported by all levels of government and health.
The goal of the event was to get players and staff into the bubble as early as possible in order to ensure that we could isolate any positive cases, and allow the impacted individuals to complete a mandatory quarantine period, rejoin their team and participate in the tournament.
Our team continues to work with the Organizing Committee and all competing teams, and we will evaluate the status of all players and staff daily. Our goal remains to work through the quarantine period and establish a safe bubble for players to achieve their dream of competing in the World Juniors.
All teams and staff will continue to receive daily COVID-19 tests, and the IIHF will continue to provide regular updates on the progress of the event. Due to privacy reasons, the identities of the affected players and staff will not be released, and there will be no further comment by the IIHF and the Event Executive on the announced cases at this time.
With the quarantine period being extended to 21 December for Sweden and 24 December for Germany, the Executive Committee is currently reviewing the pre-competition schedule. A revised schedule will be released within the coming days.
The tournament format features two groups of five teams competing in round-robin play, followed by a three-round playoff. In the round robin, three points are awarded for a regulation win and two points for an overtime or shootout victory. One point is allotted for an overtime or shootout loss.
After group play, the four highest-ranked clubs from each group advance to the quarterfinals. This year, Group A consists of Finland, Switzerland, Canada, Slovakia and Germany, while the United States, Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic and Austria comprise Group B.
By Jon Sorensen
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