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IIHF cancels 6 exhibition games ahead of 2021 World Juniors

Canada’s Barrett Hayton, Bowen Byram, and Russia’s Dmitry Voronkov (L-R) in the 2020 World Junior Ice Hockey Championship final match between Canada and Russia at Ostravar Arena. Photo by Peter Kovalev\TASS via Getty Images

Prior to arriving in Edmonton, Alberta, the 10 teams competing in the 2021 IIHF World Juniors Championship were under quarantine, to limit potential spread of COVID-19 while traveling internationally. Teams were then subject to additional quarantine time once arriving in Edmonton.

During this period, eight members of Team Germany and two staff members for Team Sweden have tested positive for the virus. Both teams have been under extended quarantine, forcing the IIHF to amend the pre-tournament schedule — originally set to begin tomorrow, Sunday Dec. 20 — to remove Germany and Sweden from the schedule.

All games on Sunday and Monday have been cancelled. The exhibition play has been shortened from 10 games to just four, to be held on Tuesday, Dec. 22 and Wednesday, Dec. 23. Team USA will only play Finland on Tuesday evening, while Team Canada will have a re-match with Russia on Wednesday. Switzerland will play Austria and the Czech Republic will face off against Slovakia.

Teams who did not have any positive tests since arriving in Edmonton began skating on Friday. Germany will remain in isolation until Thursday, Dec. 24, while Sweden will be allowed to skate on Monday, Dec. 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,” per the IIHF.

Anaheim Ducks prospect Albin Sundsvik plays for Team Sweden. The center was a sixth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

The updated schedule of pre-tournament games is below.


Tuesday, December 22

3:00 p.m. — Switzerland vs. Austria
6:30 p.m. — Finland vs. USA

Wednesday, December 23

3:00 p.m. — Canada vs. Russia
6:30 p.m. — Czech Republic vs. Slovakia