IIHF releases scaled-back World Juniors exhibition schedule after 10 positive COVID-19 tests Friday

EDMONTON — More than half of the World Juniors pre-tournament exhibitions games have been cancelled after a COVID-19 outbreak inside the Edmonton bubble. 

The International Ice Hockey Federation released a revised exhibition game schedule on Saturday that pares down the number of games from the initially scheduled ten matchups down to just four. 

The revisions were needed after eight German players and two Swedish staff members were announced on Friday to have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Team Germany is to remain in quarantine until Dec. 24, the day before they are scheduled to open the tournament against Finland and two days before they are scheduled to face the host Canadians. 

Team Sweden will remain in quarantine until Dec. 21, but players and staff who have already tested positive for COVID-19 are exempt. The Swedes have already had to replace four players, the team’s head coach and a team manager due to coronavirus precautions. 

Each of the other eight teams will now play one pre-tournament game instead of originally scheduled two. The pre-tournament games now won’t start until Tuesday rather than Sunday as initially scheduled.

  • Dec 22 – 4 p.m. – Switzerland v Austria 
  • Dec 22 – 7:30 p.m. – Finland v United States
  • Dec 23 – 4 p.m. – Canada v Russia
  • Dec 23 – 7:30 p.m. – Slovakia v Czech Republic

Canada was scheduled to play Sweden on Monday. 

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said she remains confident in the integrity of the bubble and related COVID-19 protocols.

“My job is to protect public health, and I wanted to make sure that the protocols that were in place were rigorous and would not cause any risk to the public,” she told reporters on Friday. 

On Friday, the IIHF released a statement that said in part that despite the positive tests, “early indications show protocols working, tournament remains on schedule.”

The 2021 World Juniors remain slated to begin on Christmas Day with three games on the opening day schedule.

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