History has seemingly repeated itself for the Russian World Junior Hockey Championship team.
After showing up too drunk to legally board their flight home to Russia following a gold medal-winning performance at the 2011 World Juniors, the Russians have followed it with another airport fiasco, this time in Canada.
Having just had their annual holiday tournament called off midway through round robin play, Team Russia boarded their commercial Air Canada flight from Calgary to Frankfurt on Friday evening without incident. The plane, however, did not take off for its German destination until three hours after its scheduled departure time.
Physically removing the Russian players, coaching staff, equipment and luggage from the plane following public indecency and an egregious non-coherence with federal/provincial COVID-19 protocol.
According to many eyewitness accounts, the Russians boarded flight AC848 and immediately lit up cigarettes, vaped and opened alcoholic beverages, all while not adhering to long-standing mask mandates. Both players and coaches from the Russian team participated in such events.
Now, he's listening to Russian rock music on full blast.
— Aggie (@aggieloveseggs) January 1, 2022
Interacting with Twitter user @DrScherf – a Kamloops-based communications professor a Thompson Rivers University – Game On gained insights as to the scene as it unfolded in Calgary.
Further information on the Russian WJHC team’s non-compliance with simple masking policy.
Behaviour like this is why we are still in pandemic times, nearly two years later. https://t.co/WAma01UON2
— Carter Brooks (@CBrooksie84) January 1, 2022
“Two hours late so far on Calgary to Frankfurt flight,” Dr. Scherf said. “The Russian Juniors team was in back, trying to smoke cigarettes, not wearing masks, not listening to attendants. Cops swarmed the plane. We all had to get off while they and their luggage were removed.”
Eventually making their way off the plane were all passengers, while the Russians were escorted out of the airport. By mistake, members of Czechia’s national team were also removed from the flight. The Finns, who also were not causing trouble were allowed to re-board. According to reports, the Czechs were offered free room and board at a local hotel until they could board the next available flight.
“The team of the Czech Republic and Russia was removed from the flight for violating the mask regime,” said Russian coach Sergei Zubov said of the fiasco in conversation with his local news outlet Izvestia. “Very strict rules.”
AC848 has since landed in Germany without the Russian contingent. Dr. Scherf has miraculously retained her well-travelled luggage and only arrived a handful of hours behind her expected arrival time in Mainz. Despite the unexpected interruption, she was quick to sing praises of the Air Canada
“Just want to emphasize how wonderful the crew and cops were, pretty scary for all,” she posted on Twitter shortly before take-off. “Air Canada 848 flight attendants are stellar. Also Calgary cops. Thank you for keeping our flight safe.”
Until next time… err, the 2033 running of the World Juniors, if the eleven-year history repeats itself, that is.