Team USA was forced to forfeit its men’s U20 world junior championship preliminary game against Switzerland on Tuesday due to a “mandated team quarantine” following two positive COVID tests among the players in Alberta, Canada.
The International Ice Hockey Federation announced that rather than a postponement, the game will be recorded as a forfeit and a 1-0 win for the Swiss, per IIHF rules.
The U.S. team’s quarantine status will be reevaluated to check for false positives and to determine whether it can compete in its next preliminary round game, which is scheduled for Dec. 29 against Sweden. The U.S. won its first game of Group B play, 3-2 over Slovakia, on Dec. 26. The top four teams from each five-team group advance to the playoff round.
“We’re extremely disappointed, especially for our players. We’re operating in an ever-changing landscape and that’s very challenging. We’ve followed the tournament protocol from the outset and will continue to do everything we can to ensure our players have the opportunity to compete at the World Junior Championship,” said U.S. national junior team general manager John Vanbiesbrouck, who was recently named GM of the men’s Olympic hockey team as well.
The world juniors are being played in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta. Team USA is the defending gold medalist.