Russian, Czech world junior hockey teams begin flight to Calgary

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A New Year’s Eve flight from Calgary to Frankfurt, Germany, was halted for several hours last night as the Russian and Czech world junior hockey teams were taken off the plane.

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The Air Canada flight took off around 9 p.m. on December 31, more than three hours after it had departed. Calgary Police Service confirmed that officers responded with airport security to an incident involving a Russian team team and staff members.

“The team from the Czech Republic and Russia were removed from the flight for violating the mask regime. Very strict rules, ”said Russian coach Sergei Zubov in an interview with the Russian newspaper Izvestia.

Several passengers associated with the team took to social media to give details of the incidents.

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“Flight from Calgary to Frankfurt delayed by two hours so far. The Russian juniors team was behind, trying to smoke a cigarette, not wearing a mask, not listening to the attendants,” wrote a Twitter user by the name of Dr Kathleen Scherf.

“The police blew up the plane. We all had to get off, until they and their luggage were cleared.”

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The Finnish team, on the same flight, was reportedly given permission to leave after the resumption of flight.

The International Ice Hockey Federation on 29 December canceled the remaining 2022 World Junior Championships due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasingly prevalent Omicron variant. The IIHF said it was canceling tournaments to be held in Edmonton and Red Deer to ensure the health and safety of participants and to protect the integrity of the championship.

Postmedia reached out to the Canada Border Services Agency and Air Canada for comment, but did not immediately hear back.

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Twitter: @michaelrdrguez

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