CALGARY — Thursday night, in a triumphant return to the ice, the Canadian women’s hockey team defeated their arch-rivals at the World Hockey Championships.
But while cheering was happening on the ice – the stands, were mostly silent.
Because, while the rest of Alberta carries on with almost no COVID-19 restrictions, despite recording more than 1000 new cases a day, the World Hockey Championships are still operating in a bubble.
In a statement, Hockey Canada says that for the preliminary games, it made the decision for empty stands for the health and safety of players, and Albertans.
There’s no word yet on what will happen in the knockout rounds.
While disappointed that fans aren’t allowed to attend, players are happy to be back on the ice. The tournament had been cancelled twice — once in 2020 — and then again this past spring when it was supposed to be held in Halifax.
“What was so disappointing about that was that teams were already arriving. It seemed good to go,“ said 660 NEWS Sports Anchor Sandra Prusina.
This, while women’s hockey players watched men’s international tournaments continue.
“Because the men continue to play, and that was what was really frustrating when you have a U18 women’s tournament that could have been held in a bubble situation.”
While Prusina says it would be great to have fans in the stands.
“Representation is huge.”
The important thing is that the tournament is happening – especially after the hits women’s hockey has taken over the last two years.