US loses World Junior Hockey game to Switzerland due to COVID

EDMONTON After two cases of COVID-19, the defending United States champion was forced to forfeit Tuesday’s game against Switzerland at the world junior hockey championship in Red Deer, Alta.

It will be recorded as a 1-0 win for the Swiss by forfeit, under IIHF rules.

“The team’s quarantine status will be assessed later to determine if they can participate in their next match in the preliminary round,” the International Ice Hockey Federation said in a statement. The Americans’ next scheduled game is Wednesday night against Sweden.

“We are extremely disappointed, especially for our players,” United States general manager John Vanbiesbrouck said in a statement. “We’re operating in an ever-changing landscape and it’s very challenging. We have followed tournament protocol from the start and will continue to do everything we can to ensure our players have the opportunity to participate in the World Junior Championship.

It’s unclear which COVID-19 variant is involved, but in the NHL, the Omicron variant spread rapidly after teams played each other. The Americans opened with a 3-2 win over Slovakia on Sunday.

All teams have been separated from the rest of the world since arriving on December 15 to prepare for the tournament, which is due to end on January 5.

The United States, Slovakia, Sweden, Russia and the Swiss play their preliminary round matches in Red Deer. Canadians, Czechs, Finns, Austrians and Germans are based in Edmonton.


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Catherine J. Martinez