Russia’s and Canada’s Women’s Ice Hockey Teams Wear Masks for Match | National Review

Russia’s and Canada’s Women’s Ice Hockey Teams Wear Masks for Match | National Review


Brianne Jenner of Canada and Anna Shibanova of the Russian Olympic Committee in action wearing face masks during a women’s ice hockey match at Wukesong Sports Centre in Beijing, China, February 7, 2022. (David W Cerny/Reuters via USA TODAY Sports)

Today, “Russia and Canada’s women’s ice hockey players wore medical masks . . . for their Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics match, after Covid-19 test results failed to arrive in time,” the South China Morning Post reports.

The Beijing Winter Olympics are already occurring in a “closed loop” Covid bubble. “All athletes are required to remain within the bio-secure bubble, i.e. their respective Olympic villages, for the duration of their participation in the games,” according to Newsweek. “They receive daily COVID-19 testing, and are only allowed to travel to and from Games-related venues.” On top of mandatory Covid tests every morning, coaches, officials and athletes are required to wear a mask “at all times—except, usually, when they are competing,” the Morning Post writes. Notably, vaccination is not required, but a 21-day quarantine upon arrival is mandated for all unvaccinated attendees.

The women’s hockey teams say they showed up for their tests the morning of the game, but the Chinese lab failed to return the results in time for the match. The game was delayed for an hour while waiting for the lab to finish the tests, but when the results were not forthcoming, the teams eventually opted to play wearing K95 masks under their helmets instead. The Associated Press reported during the game that the mask order was handed down from the International Olympic Committee due to “safety and security reasons.”

“Our coaches and medical staff were not going to put us in a situation where we would not feel safe,” Natalie Spooner, a member of the Canadian team, told the press. It wasn’t the first time the Canadian team masked up to play. According to USA Today, “they wore masks during training sessions last month as the team recovered from its own COVID-19 outbreak in December and returned from holiday break in January. This was the first time wearing KN95s, though, as they usually wore the regular, light-blue surgical masks.”

The results eventually returned in the third period of the game. All of the players were negative. The Russians subsequently opted to de-mask, but the Canadians kept them on for the duration of the game. “We figured we had [the masks] on for two periods so why not keep being extra safe for one period,” Spooner said. Canada ended up winning 6–1.

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) released a statement saying that “out of caution and concern for the health and safety of the players, the IIHF agreed with the participating teams to play the game with masks on.”

“This is probably a cool story in the long run,” Spooner said. “We can say we were at the Covid Olympics and we even wore a mask in a game.”

“Cool” is one word for it!





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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.