By Al Taylor (Mr. Rhonda)
As we sit down tonight to watch what is sure to be an exciting gold medal game between Canada and the United States at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, I'd like to reflect on the travesty of sportsmanship.
Literally on the verge of departure for Edmonton, the German team roster was reduced from 23 players to 14. Nine players had tested positive for COVID-19. Disaster had befallen.
However, the Germans did not lick their wounds and withdraw. Knowing the negative impact this would have on their roster, the Germans advised the IIHF that their team would still attend the tournament. What’s more, the team backed the decision to play 100 per cent. This action by Team Germany avoided the nightmare of a nine-team World Juniors.
This was a coup to the IIHF because there would be no carryover onto the public preparations for the 2021 World Juniors. Things would be normal. Like nothing happened. Except something happened.
It was at this point that the IIHF failed to realize what had just occurred. The German team had absolutely no chance of winning any glory except for perhaps, skating away with their pride intact. Instead, the Canadians destroyed the Germans 16-2 on the opening day of this tournament, which is truly an unnecessary score.
The IIHF should have considered this unfortunate incident. The IIHF would have won the prize for sportsmanship if all goals and assists scored in the games with Germany were not counted for individual player rankings. But that did not happen.
A true disappointment for international hockey fans.