A New Years Eve disruption on an Air Canada plane that some passengers said was linked to bad behavior by Russia’s world junior hockey team does not appear to have given rise to charges, but the International Federation of ice hockey said she could still take action.
“The IIHF is gathering additional information on this incident from the appropriate authorities and will refer the incident to the IIHF Ethics Committee to determine whether the actions of the Russian national team violated the code of ethics of the IIHF, “the federation said in an email.
“Upon the decision of the IIHF Ethics Committee, the incident will be referred to the IIHF Disciplinary Board for sanction.”
Calgary Police said in a press release over the weekend that officers responded to reports of a disruption involving multiple passengers on an Air Canada plane at the city’s airport. , and that officers had helped airline staff “keep the peace” while the passengers were deplaned.
No arrests by Calgary police
Several passengers reported that the flight to Frankfurt was delayed by about three hours after Russian players and team officials refused to follow COVID-19 rules and properly wear their masks. Passengers also claimed that some of the group smoked and did not listen to flight attendants.
A city police spokeswoman said there had been no arrests or charges to her knowledge, and officers only boarded the plane during the New Years incident. to ensure the safety of passengers during their withdrawal.
The police spokeswoman said the Canada Border Services Agency was handling investigations of security breaches on board planes, but the agency said in an email on Saturday that there was no ongoing investigation into the case.
Members of the Russian team were returning home after the IIHF World Junior Championships in Red Deer and Edmonton, which were called off last week due to outbreaks of COVID-19 across multiple teams.
Russian media quoted the team’s coach Sergei Zubov as saying that the Czech and Russian teams were taken off the flight for violating the mask regime.
Russian sports news channel Match TV quoted Zubov as saying that after being taken off the plane, the Russian team was then allowed to board other planes to Montreal and Toronto and then to Frankfurt then Moscow.
Zubov told Match TV that there was no cigarette smoke on board, noting that he quit smoking three years ago. He said Canada’s application of mask rules is strict and suggested that some of his team were not wearing them properly could be due to their joy at returning home.
The official vaped in the cabin
Eoin Kenny, a passenger on the flight who was in business class, said a Russian official sitting next to him vaped in the cabin and refused to put his mask over his mouth and nose. Flight attendants repeatedly tried to force him to obey the rules, Kenny said, but the man refused.
The man also yelled Russian rock music on his phone and refused to refuse when asked by staff, Kenny added.
Zubov suggested to Match TV that the story was overblown, possibly because there is a hockey shortage to report on.
Kenny said he didn’t believe the Russian players were drinking, even though they were loud in the departure lounge. He said he thought the Czechs, who were quiet in the living room, may have been mistaken for the Russians because they were wearing similar gray tracksuits.
Not the first time
This is not the first time that the Russian junior team has encountered difficulties at an airport.
In 2011, when the team showed up for their flight home from their gold medal at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Buffalo, NY in 2011, Delta Air Lines asked them to leave for indiscipline.
A bus driver who brought them to the airport said Buffalo News by the time some of the team were so drunk that they had to be carried on the bus.