Players from Canada and the Russian Olympic Committee wore face masks during an ice hockey match at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
The preliminary round match was due to start at the Wukesong Sports Centre at 12:10pm local time, with the ROC ready and waiting on the ice for the match to begin.
The ROC players then returned to their changing room after it was announced the match had been pushed back until 1:15pm.
After the hour delay, both teams came out onto the ice wearing face masks. It was later revealed that both teams had agreed to play in masks after the results of the COVID-19 tests taken by the ROC players were delayed.
“The Canadians came out late on the ice because of the last test result of the Russian team,” International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) President Luc Tardif told Russia’s official state news agency TASS.
“The test was done by 8am local time, but the results came late, the teams agreed to play in masks to ensure maximum safety.”
Canada played in face masks for the entirety of the match, but the Russian players took them off for the third and final period.
“The test results came at the end of the second period, so the players took off their masks,” Tardif said. “All results are negative.
“We are working closely with the health authorities on a schedule consistent with our competition to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Playing in face masks did not seem to impact Canada, who thrashed the ROC 6-1.
Marie-Philip Poulin, Sarah Fillier, Erin Ambrose, Jamie Lee Rattray, Rebecca Johnston and Sarah Nurse all scored for Canada, with Anna Shokhina got the solitary goal for the ROC.
“I didn’t expect this but we have said all year that nothing fazes us and this didn’t faze us,” Canada’s Brianne Jenner told CBC.
“Our GM said we were wearing masks and we were like, ‘OK, let’s go win a game in masks.’ Not a big deal for us, we have been training a lot in these. Just another opportunity to prove that we could get the job done.
“Maybe you lost a puck or two at your feet, but we don’t want to use it as an excuse, we want to come out and play a good, solid game.
“We had a couple of shifts we definitely want back but mentally we did a really good job adapting.”
Beijing 2022 has not been plain sailing for the ROC side – the squad was hit with an outbreak of coronavirus cases at the start of the Games.
Six players were forced to miss the opening match against Switzerland, before another two players tested positive for COVID-19.
Despite this, the ROC still managed to beat Switzerland 5-2, but have now racked up losses against the United States and Canada.