Nova Scotia is preparing to go ahead and host the women’s world hockey championships in May, as the province’s top doctor lays the ground rules for quarantining players and staff.
Dr. Robert Strang, the chief medical officer of health, says everyone coming into Nova Scotia for the tournament — whether from within Canada or internationally — will have to follow a strict 14-day quarantine.
“We’re not making any exceptions whatsoever on that fundamental piece to protect Nova Scotians just to accommodate this tournament,” he said during a COVID-19 news conference on Tuesday.
The 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship, which will host teams from 10 countries, is scheduled to take place in Halifax and Truro from May 6 to 16. Teams will be arriving from the U.S., Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Russia, and Switzerland.
The tournament was initially supposed to take place in 2020, but was sidelined due to the pandemic.
In preparation, Team Canada is holding its selection camp beginning Wednesday in Halifax, with 47 players in attendance.
Strang says the same rules Team Canada is abiding by now will be implemented for the international teams.
Once they arrive in Halifax, individuals will quarantine by themselves in their hotel rooms “for a number of days,” before they can practice as a team within a bubble.
“They can go in a controlled manner form their hotel to the arena where they have a dedicated change room. All the protocols in place, they have no exposure to anyone else,” said Strang.
“And then once practice is over, they go back to their hotel.”
Strang says agreements between the province, Hockey Canada, IIHF and the federal government state that even once the tournament starts, interactions between teams will be limited.
“There is no interaction between teams until games are actually played. And even as the tournament goes on, the only interaction between teams is during games,” he said.
As for spectators, Strang says people will be allowed in the arenas, and will be based on whatever gathering limits are in place by then.
He notes spectators are currently allowed for QMJHL games.
Strang stresses the protocols could very well change, depending on the constantly-evolving COVID-19 situation.
“This is all contingent upon epidemiology. If for some reason, things go completely sideways, we will adjust as necessary like we did a year ago where we on short notice actually canceled the same tournament,” said Strang.
“So we have that ability and we’ll always put the protection of Nova Scotians ahead of any event, including an international hockey tournament.”