U.S. forfeits world junior hockey game to Swiss because of COVID-19 quarantine

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EDMONTON — Defending champion United States forfeited Tuesday's game against Switzerland at the world junior men's hockey championship because two players tested positive for COVID-19.

The American team was placed in a mandated quarantine. The game was scheduled to be played Tuesday afternoon in Red Deer, which is co-hosting the 2022 men's under-20 tournament with Edmonton.

The game will be recorded as a 1-0 win for Switzerland by forfeit in accordance with the rules, International Ice Hockey Federation said in a statement.

"We're extremely disappointed, especially for our players," U.S. junior team general manager John Vanbiesbrouck said in a statement.

"We're operating in an ever-changing landscape and that's very challenging.

"We've followed the tournament protocol from the outset and will continue to do everything we can to ensure our players have the opportunity to compete at the world junior championship."

The U.S. team's quarantine status will be evaluated later to determine whether it can compete in its next preliminary round game against Sweden on Wednesday, the IIHF said.

The Americans opened Pool B in Red Deer with a 3-2 win over Slovakia. The U.S. defeated Canada 2-0 in the final of the 2021 junior tournament in Edmonton and the 2022 roster features six returning players from that team.

The IIHF cancelled six men's and women's tournaments in January, including the women's under-18 world championship a second straight year, because of concerns over COVID-19.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 28, 2021.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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