It was clear as a day that KHL would eventually run into Covid-19 issues and it looks like it’s starting to happen.
Early Friday a little after midnight the hockey world had learned that seven players of Neftehimik Nizhnekamsk squad have tested positive for Covid-19. Upon arrival to Riga, where they were supposed to face Dinamo Riga team players had to undergo express testing as ordered by the Latvian government.
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The first concern that this raises – Neftehimik did break their curfew by having a practice at the arena instead of staying at the hotel and waiting for the test results. Who takes the responsibility for that? Not sure. The game between Neftehimik and Riga has been postponed. After spending the night in Riga, the Russian team will be headed to St.Petersburg for additional testing and then a decision on the future of their road trip will be made.
Yes, the team continues to travel instead of being sent home to quarantine for 14 days.
Dinamo Riga side has assured that no staff or players have been exposed to the virus as there has been no contact with the opposing team players.
But not to worry, Jokerit Helsinki squad also woke up and hate to make an announcement.
The following is a statement from the Helsinki Jokerit squad:
”Tonight’s game vs Ak Bars Kazan has been postponed due to players being exposed to COVID-19 on Wednesday’s game vs Neftekhimik. Jokerit players have been placed on 14-day quarantine which means games on September 15th, 17th, 19th, and 21st will also be postponed. ”
What is uncertain right now is – why are the games postponed? The president of KHL Alexei Morozov has stated on multiple occasions that if a team is unable to play a game due to Covid-19 they would be handed a technical loss (0:5).
This clearly is the first major case of issues caused by COVID but it certainly won’t be the last.