Two Canada coaches for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, assistant Michael Dyck and goaltending coach Jason LaBarbera, are serving 14-day quarantines after a member of the Hockey Canada staff working at the WJC evaluation camp tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday.
The positive test did not affect the first intrasquad scrimmage of the camp, which was played Saturday at Westerner Park Centrium in Red Deer, Alberta.
Hockey Canada senior vice president of national teams Scott Salmond said the staff member learned of the positive diagnosis Saturday morning. The staff member was isolated immediately and contact tracing was started.
“We have a protocol that deals with the positive test, so immediately we isolated all of our players and staff, we canceled our activity, which was a morning skate today,” Salmond said. “We then started the close contact tracing and went through a thorough process with that, both with the person who was tested and all of our staff. We matched those questionnaires together, we identified a number of staff who would be isolating and now are in isolation and will be for 14 days. After that, we determined that none of those staff were in close contact with players or putting any of the players or other staff at risk. We checked with our partners at Alberta Health and other agencies and determined that we were good to play today.”
Coach Andre Tourigny said assistant Tyler Dietrich will assume Dyck’s role overseeing the power play, and that LaBarbera will continue evaluating the goalies through video.
The evaluation camp began Tuesday and runs through Dec. 13.
The 2021 World Junior Championship will be held at Rogers Place in Edmonton from Dec. 25-Jan. 5, with no fans in attendance and in a secure zone similar to what the NHL used during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Teams must be together by Dec. 6, and each member of the traveling party have three negative coronavirus tests prior to entering the zone Dec. 13.
Salmond said the hope is that the coaches are able to rejoin the team before it arrives in Edmonton.
“I think the good news is that, if we’re going to have something like this, it’s now,” Salmond said. “Following those 14 days they’d be completely cleared to rejoin our group. We’ll be testing them obviously before they come back into our bubble. But we anticipate that’s in early December here if everything goes well, and we’re not scheduled to be in the bubble in Edmonton until the 13th so it gives us some time to get our group back together, get working together again before we get into Edmonton, where we believe we’d all enter at the same time under the same parameters, and it goes business as usual when we get to Edmonton.”