Canada, ROC women’s hockey teams wear masks in delayed game amid possible COVID-19 infection

In a first for the 2022 Winter Olympics, the Canada and ROC women’s hockey teams played their preliminary-round game on Monday wearing N95 masks following a brief COVID-19 scare that delayed the competition by 65 minutes.

According to a release by Team Russia, the match was initially delayed after officials did not receive pregame COVID-19 tests from the teams. Officials administered the tests at 9 a.m. local time, three hours before the game was scheduled to start at 12:10 p.m. Consequently, Luc Tardif and Ashley Ehlert — president and legal advisor of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHC), respectively — decided the match should be delayed an hour.

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The ROC’s team was apparently unaware of the reason for the hold-up, and were waiting on their bench as the Canada team stayed in the locker room. Both teams had already completed warmups, though the Canadians did not come out onto the ice for the scheduled puck drop. The ROC was later informed of the decision and instructed to head to its own locker room.

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Following the delay, both teams agreed to play the match while wearing N95 masks. Per Team Russia’s report, officials finally received test results following the conclusion of the second period. As there were no positive tests, Russia elected to remove its players’ masks for the final period. The Canadians kept their masks on in an eventual 6-1 win, improving to 3-0 in Beijing.

According to a report from ESPN, Canada was concerned about Russian players who had previously tested positive for COVID-19: Six such members, including captain Olga Sosina, isolated last week following positive results. They have since come out of isolation.

Canada held out forward Emily Clark as a precautionary measure after her test returned an inconclusive result.

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