Virus forces three players off Swiss team ahead of world juniors

Andre Tourigny spoke to the media about how the coaching staff and Hockey Canada will work to give the players the best World Juniors experience during unique circumstances. Courtesy of Hockey Canada.

Switzerland is the latest hockey federation to have COVID-19 impact its roster decisions ahead of the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championship.

On Thursday, Switzerland announced three players had been cut for virus-related reasons: winger Yves Stoffel, who tested positive for COVID-19; his roommate, winger Jannik Canova; and centre Kevin Lindemann, whose entry into Canada was denied due to a positive COVID-19 test earlier this year.

This marks five teams in the 10-team tournament who have had to make roster decisions based on COVID-19 cases. Canada had to quarantine its entire selection camp roster in a Red Deer, Alta., hotel for two weeks after two players tested positive; Sweden has had four players and multiple coaches test positive; the United States had to drop three players from its camp roster for various reasons related to the virus; while Germany cut two players who tested positive.

All 10 teams will report to Edmonton, the tournament’s host city, on Sunday. Each team will play two pre-tournament games, beginning Dec. 20, before the tournament officially begins on Dec. 25.

Despite the numerous cases across the various teams, tournament organizers remain confident the bubble in Edmonton will be a success, just as it was for the Stanley Cup playoffs earlier this year.

“I know that once they get to Edmonton, we’ve really got it buckled down again,” Bob Nicholson, vice-president for the IIHF and the chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group, told Sportsnet’s Mark Spector recently. “Get ‘em here and we’ll make them as safe as possible, get this tournament going.”

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