Daniel Alfredsson was ready to step in as an assistant coach for Sweden for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, but the six-time NHL all-star was ruled ineligible due to quarantine rules for the tournament.
The former Ottawa Senators captain was contacted by Sweden after coach Tomas Monten, along with two assistant coaches and two players, were deemed ineligible to participate in the tournament after testing positive for COVID-19 this week.
Joel Ronnmark has been named the replacement coach and Monten will coach from home. Ronnmark has served as an assistant to Monten the past two years. Anders Eriksen, coach of Sweden’s under-18 team, will be an assistant and Jason Pietrzykowski, the assistant video coach of the Edmonton Oilers, will serve as the video coach for Sweden.
Alfredsson ranks second all-time among Sweden-born players in the NHL in points (1,157) behind Mats Sundin (1,349). He ranks second in goals (444) and fourth in assists (713) in 1,246 regular-season games with the Senators and Detroit Red Wings from 1995-2014.
Sweden also wanted to add Daniel’s brother, Henric, and Andreas Karlsson, an assistant with Kitchener of the Ontario Hockey League, to the coaching staff.
“Team Sweden have … been in contact with Daniel Alfredsson, Henric Alfredsson and Andreas Karlsson who all said yes to [joining] the staff,” Swedish Ice Hockey Association chairman Anders Larsson said. “The question about adding Swedish staff members living in Canada was asked to the IIHF president Rene Fasel, but yesterday [the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation] was [notified] that no other staff members could join the team because of the rules regarding quarantine applied for the tournament.
“With that said, it is also impressive to see how big profiles like Daniel Alfredsson, Henric Alfredsson and Andreas Karlsson are ready to stand up for Swedish ice hockey and Juniorkronorna in this challenging time and at short notice.”
The WJC is scheduled to be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton from Dec. 25 to Jan. 5, 2021. No fans will be in attendance for the games, and the teams will be placed in a secure zone similar to the one used by the NHL during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The IIHF ruled prior to the start of select camps on Dec. 6 that all 10 teams must be together for one week before arriving in Edmonton for the WJC on Sunday, and each member of the 40-person traveling party must have three negative tests for the coronavirus.
Once arriving in Edmonton, all players and staff members will be in quarantine for five days in their hotel rooms and be tested daily.
“It’s reassuring to see how the sporting leadership of the association, along with the team, does all this in this difficult situation for us to get to play in the World Junior Championship in Edmonton,” Larsson said. “In my conversations with IIHF president René Fasel, however, it has become clear that it is impossible to let new leaders enter the bubble at a later stage. We had obviously hoped for another decision but have respect for the decision from an infection point of view.”
Defenseman William Wallinder, selected by the Red Wings in the second round (No. 32) of the 2020 NHL Draft, was released from the preliminary roster on Monday after a positive COVID-19 test. Monten, assistant Anders Lundberg and forward Albin Grewe (Red Wings) were ruled ineligible on Tuesday, and goalie coach Nizze Landen tested positive on Wednesday.
Prior to the start of training camp on Sunday, video coach Adam Almqvist and forwards Karl Henriksson (New York Rangers) and William Eklund (2021 NHL Draft eligible) tested positive and did not join the team.
Sweden will be in Group B in the preliminary round and is scheduled to play against the Czech Republic (Dec. 26), Austria (Dec. 28), Russia (Dec. 30), and the United States (Dec. 31). Group A consists of Canada, Finland, Switzerland, Slovakia and Germany.
The top four teams in each group will play in the quarterfinals on Jan. 2. The semifinals are Jan. 4, and the championship and third-place game is scheduled to be held on Jan. 5. Games will be broadcast in the United States on NHL Network.