You probably already know that she didn’t protect and that the tournament was canceled not even in the middle. But what is shocking is the fact that, according to testimony from overseas, the organizers approached the prevention. That, for example, a wedding was to take place at a hotel in Red Deer, where teams from a “non-Czech” group were staying, and the guests were already mixing up with the hockey players in advance.
That such a strong bubble was quite punctured until one of the members of the European team called the local covid protocol ridiculous.
And that even though the hockey players, including the Czech ones, swore to abide by all the set rules, it was, according to all indications, just a ridiculous and naive game, because the organizers could not even eliminate the risk of infection.
“Things didn’t work out the first day. Although we moved between the rooms, the dining room and the cabin, we were not allowed to go outside, but from the beginning, strangers moved in the hotel. Incomprehensible, “said Slovak coach Ivan Feneš. And his Finnish colleague Antti Pennanen from the Edmonton group added:” I am upset because the problem was not in the covid, but that it was a poorly organized tournament. That says a lot about the status of the IIHF. “
Yes, it is incomprehensible and shameful.
Covid’s been here some Friday. Major sporting events have learned to live with him to some extent, even at the cost of slamming the door in front of the fans, keeping the athletes in check, finding the winners and losers without having to close the shop in the middle. It managed the Euro football, the Olympics, rugby and dozens of other larger or smaller tournaments.
And he managed hockey. Last year’s Twenties tournament met the champion, in Latvia at the “adult” championship I also know from my own experience how the player hotel became a guarded fortress, which was patrolled by the police so that the players would not come into contact with “unverified civilians”. The same was true in the arenas. However, even the coach of the Czech juniors Karel Mlejnek said to himself before the tournament in Canada: “It will be over, it is clear. The world has learned to live with a covid, he has been vaccinated.”
Instead, hockey received a real blow, both organizational and financial.
Yes, there is a more contagious variant of omicron in the world, so from a purely statistical point of view, someone is more likely to become infected, but the greed of the organizers (at least in Red Deer) has increased that probability disproportionately. And I can’t help but say that the WJC, as the English acronym of the junior championship sounds, was flushed down the toilet.
“We have lost the battle, but I am sure we will not lose the war,” said Petr Bříza, vice president of the IIHF International Hockey Federation, adding that he is considering finishing the tournament in the summer.
I don’t know, the botched championship is a memento for the upcoming sporting events, including the Winter Olympics, and it also asks crucial questions: Will the matches really be contumed when the tests reveal one positive on the team? And will hockey players from European leagues, who otherwise make a living at the club, want to go to Beijing if the threat of long quarantine is confirmed – under such risky conditions?
The canceled championship is also a sad story for the year 2002. Due to the covid, they have already bounced the eighteen championship in 2020, now they have not reached the top again. For example, David Jiříček (year 2003), one of the greatest domestic talents, was injured in the first match of the tournament, which did not even play out … he may tap his shoulders, as he made a prudent decision.
No, despite the bitter and premature end, it should not happen that the Czech team did not shine in two matches in Canada and in fact everything was heading towards the expected sad scenario …
… but the day before New Year’s Eve we can joke that at least the year 2022 will start positively for Czech hockey, because the juniors, as usual, will not be beaten in the quarterfinals and that the usual disputation over the state of Czech hockey will probably not take place.
But the other is a pity.
The embarrassment of the Canadian organizers should not obscure the reality either. So let’s not forget that, although, paradoxically, many people at the union may have rested on Wednesday night.
A graduate of Masaryk University (history – journalism) has been involved in sports journalism since 1999. He focuses mainly on hockey, as a reporter he has participated in a number of world championships, motorsports and sports policy. He worked at MF DNES for more than 20 years, in 2021 he joined Sport.cz.