German hockey players call for league stoppage for Olympics
COLOGNE, Germany (AP) — Players called on the German hockey league to consider suspending its operations Tuesday because of coronavirus outbreaks, just as its 2018 men’s silver medal-winning national team revealed its roster for next month’s Olympics.
The Ice Hockey Players’ Union, which represents players in the German pro leagues, said the virus was so widespread in the Bundesliga that the league should consider following the example of the Russia-based KHL, which had a week-long stoppage with the aim of breaking the chain of infection before the Olympics.
The union chairman Moritz Müller is on the German roster as captain.
“A few days before the start of the Olympic Winter Games many players and entire teams are in quarantine,” the union said in a statement. “It is important to reduce any risk to a minimum in the coming days and to optimize the possibility of players isolating as best as possible.”
Germany named 10 of the players from its 2018 team on its 25-man roster for Beijing on Tuesday.
Six of the players on the roster are from the Bundesliga team Adler Mannheim, which said Monday it had been ordered to shut down operations by city health authorities after 14 players and staff members tested positive.
The Germany team is expected to gather in Mannheim on Monday and fly to China two days later. Its first game is on Feb. 10 against Canada.
Repeated virus outbreaks have disrupted the German hockey league schedule throughout the season. Some teams have played 10 more games than others, creating a long backlog of rescheduled games.
League CEO Gernot Tripcke said it would be “logistically and legally impossible” to suspend matches before the Olympics, in comments reported by German news agency DPA. He added that players would be released for the Games on Saturday.
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