After the World Junior Championships of 2022, which was aborted after three forfeitures due to Covid-19, the members of Team Russia were to fly home on New Year’s Eve via Air Canada. However, they were kicked off flight due to repeated, unruly behavior.
This brought back memories from January 2011 when the Russian World Junior team, who won the Gold Medal in the 2011, were also thrown off their attempted flight home due to being drunk and rowdy.
This time, the Russian team boarded their flight from Calgary, Alberta to Frankfurt, Germany on New Year’s Eve. But because they were disruptive and would not comply with rules, they were kicked off the plane. The report was that players were smoking cigarettes, refusing to wear masks, and ignoring directives by flight attendants.
Two hours late so far on Calgary to Frankfurt flight. The Russian Juniors team was in back, trying to smoke cigarettes, not wearing masks, not listening to attendants. Cops swarmed the plane. We all had to get off while they and their luggage were removed.
— Dr. Kathleen Scherf (@DrScherf) January 1, 2022
The flight was delayed for more than three hours as police swarmed the plane. All passengers had to disembark from the plane while they unloaded the luggage for both teams. Neither the Czech team and the Russian team were allowed back on the plane.
I walked past them waiting to get back on a flight pic.twitter.com/pNuHBldRgA
— Calgary (@Calgaryman1) January 1, 2022
As previously noted, this brought back memories of the 2011 World Junior Championships that took place in Buffalo, New York. That was in the Championship Final game on January 6, 2011 when the Canadians had a 3-0 lead after two periods and were dominating play in general.
But the Russians scored five answered goals during third period to win that game. The team most notably consisted of Evgeny Kuznetsov (Washington Capitals), Vladimir Taresenko (St Louis Blues), Artemi Panarin (Undrafted but with New York Rangers now), and Dmitry Orlov (Washington Capitals), with Tarasenko as their Captain and Orlov an alternate.
Photo: Brendan McDermid/Reuters
As was expected, the Russians had a wild celebration on the ice after the Gold Medal game and drank champagne. The Russians’ celebration went overtime and it was reported that they celebrated by drinking alcohol at the hotel bar.
The next day, they reported to their early morning flight with Delta Airlines. On the way over, at least one player had honked the bus horn on the way to the airport. But two of the players were so drunk, they had to be carried onto the plane. One player even vomited. It took a while for the players to get off the plane as one player had trouble exiting the plane.
Russia’s Artemi Panarin, right, talks with teammates relaxing in a hot tub at a hotel across the street from Buffalo Niagara International Airport in Cheektowaga, N.Y., Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011. (AP / David Duprey)
Bus driver, Curtis Hall, who had driven the Russians to the airport, talked to the Buffalo News, “They were definitely intoxicated, that’s for sure. They were so drunk they had to carry a couple of the guys onto the bus.”
Further Reading on 2020 World Junior Flight Incident
Calgary Herald: Russian, Czech World Junior Hockey Teams Kicked off Calgary Flight
Sports Net Canada: Russian World Junior Player Removed from Calgary Flight
Ottawa Citizen: Russian, Czech World Junior Hockey Teams Kicked Off Calgary Flights
AP News Report on Incident
NHL Trade Rumors Report: Russian World Junior Team Kicked Off
Further Reading on 2011 World Junior Flight Incident
CTV News Russian Hockey Team Kicked Off Flight Home
Toronto Star: Unruly Russian Junior Team Kicked Off Flight
National Post: Russian Junior Team Kicked Off Flight for Being Intoxicated
CBC Canada: Russian Juniors Booted Off Plane
By Diane Doyle