'We are not compromising' safety on international hockey tournament, says Strang

·2 min read
The Rath Eastlink Community Centre is one of the two arenas in Nova Scotia where the International Ice Hockey Federation women's world championship will take place next month. (Paul Palmeter/CBC - image credit)
The Rath Eastlink Community Centre is one of the two arenas in Nova Scotia where the International Ice Hockey Federation women's world championship will take place next month. (Paul Palmeter/CBC - image credit)

All players, coaches and officials involved with the International Ice Hockey Federation women's world championship will be required to quarantine for 14 days when they arrive in Halifax.

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, laid out some of the safety measures that will be in place for the international tournament during a COVID-19 briefing held Tuesday.

"We are not giving exceptions," he said. "We are not compromising on the fundamental need for a 14-day quarantine in any way to accommodate this tournament."

Players will be travelling from across Canada as well as the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Russia, Switzerland and the United States for the tournament, which takes place May 6-16.

Starting Wednesday, 47 players will attend the selection camp for Canada's team, in an event in Halifax that continues to April 22.

Strang said public health, Hockey Canada, the IIHF and the federal government are working together to ensure the safety of those involved in the tournament and the public in Nova Scotia.

Games are scheduled for the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax and the Rath Eastlink Community Centre in Truro, N.S.

Individual quarantine, then team bubbles

Players will have to quarantine individually in their own hotel room for an unspecified number of days.

After that, they will be allowed to bubble with their team members to work out and practise.

They will travel "in a controlled manner" from the hotel to the arena, where there will be a dedicated change room that does not permit exposure to anyone else, Strang said.

Once practice is over, they will return to their hotel.

The combined individual and team bubble phases will last for 14 days, and they will only be permitted to play against other teams after that two-week period has ended.

The players' only interaction with other teams will be at games.

Some spectators permitted

Spectators will be allowed under whatever gathering limits are permitted at the time.

Strang cautioned that the plans are contingent upon epidemiology.

"If for some reason, things go completely sideways, we will adjust as necessary, like we did a year ago when we actually, on short notice, actually cancelled the same tournament," he said.

"So we have that ability and we'll always put the protection of Nova Scotians first, ahead of any event, including an international hockey tournament."

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