IIHF investigating plane incident involving Russia’s World Junior team

Team Russia gathers around goaltender Askarov Yaroslav prior to first period against team Sweden during IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship action in Red Deer, Alta., Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021. (Jonathan Hayward/CP)

The IIHF is gathering further information from “the relevant authorities” relating to an incident involving members of Russia’s World Juniors hockey team, officials told Sportsnet, after which the findings will be relayed to the IIHF Ethics Board to determine if team’s actions violated the IIHF ethics code.

Calgary police told The Calgary Herald that members of Russia’s team were removed from a flight by officers on Friday. Requests for comment from the Calgary Police Service by Sportsnet have not been answered at this time.

In a statement provided to Sportsnet, the Canada Border Services Agency said it was aware that “several passengers were deplaned from an outgoing flight at the Calgary International Airport” on Dec. 31, though did not give further details confirming the reports that it was members of Russia’s team. The agency went on to note that there was no ongoing investigation related to the matter.

Reports on social media suggested that players and coaches were not following regulations including mandatory masking. The flight scheduled from Calgary to Frankfurt, Germany, was reportedly delayed for hours until the team was asked to leave the plane along with the team from Czechia.

The CBSA said it does not issue fines in the enforcement of the Quarantine Act requirements, and the decision on whether or not to pursue any enforcement related to infractions is one made by Public Health Agency of Canada and/or the police of jurisdiction.

The world junior men’s hockey championship in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta., was cancelled on Dec. 29 after three games were forfeited due to COVID-19. The cancellation broke a run of 44 consecutive years of the IIHF’s world under-20 men’s championship.

Air Canada did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Back in 2011, about 30 members of the Russian contingent were asked to get off a Delta Air Lines flight for being unruly as they boarded for takeoff. Airport police said one player had vomited and was treated by medical officials at the airport before being cleared to board the flight.

Russia overcame a three-goal deficit in the third period to stun Canada 5-3 in the gold-medal game.

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