Russian world junior team kicked off Calgary flight over mask violations, disruptive behaviour

Team Russia gathers around goaltender Askarov Yaroslav
prior to first period against team Sweden during IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship action in Red Deer, Alta., Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Team Russia had an eventful trip home from the world juniors. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

Following the cancellation of the 2022 world junior championship on Dec. 29 due to the spread of COVID-19, players and coaches were understandably disappointed to miss out on the experience of a lifetime.

While some aired their frustrations online or through the media, others seem to have let their discontent regrettably get the most of them.

A flight departing from Calgary and destined for Frankfurt, Germany was delayed for several hours on New Year's Eve due to disturbances by the Russian team, according to a report by the Calgary Herald. The teams were eventually kicked off the plane for failing to comply with in-flight safety measures, among other infractions. Russia head coach Sergei Zubov told Russian newspaper Izvestia that the teams were removed from the flight because they violated the “very strict” mask rules.

Travellers on Air Canada flight AC 848 took to Twitter to air their grievances with those responsible for the delays.

Team Czechia was also removed from the flight, but according to GM Otakar Černý, they were wrongly accused and later received an apology from Air Canada.

Via (translated by Google)

"It simply came to our notice then. We arrived at Calgary Airport about three hours in advance. Our players went to buy souvenirs from Canada and some of the players called their families at home. On the contrary, we saw Russian players sitting at the bar. I warned all our boys in advance that they should wear veils throughout their stay at the airport and observe the distances.

"Then we got on a plane and it should be noted, at that moment we noticed that some members of the Russian expedition obviously did not follow the hygienic rules and alcohol probably played a role in that. One of the members of the Russian implementation team even smoked in the tunnel before boarding the plane. Some of the passengers then complained about the Russians' behaviour, and the crew therefore had the entire plane evacuated."

Team Finland was also on the flight destined for Frankfurt. There are no reports including them in the disturbances, and they reboarded the plane with the rest of its passengers following a delay of over three hours.

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