Canada, Russia women’s hockey players masked for game after 65-minute delay reportedly due to COVID-19 test results

The start of the women’s hockey preliminary-round game between Canada and Russia on Monday was delayed 65 minutes before being played with both teams wearing N95 masks, a first at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

No reason was given for the delay, but according to multiple reports Team Canada refused to take the ice due to the Russian squad’s failure to provide the Canadians with updated COVID-19 test results.

Six members of the Russian squad – including captain Olga Sosina – had been placed in isolation last week after testing positive for the virus and did not play in Russia’s 5-2 opening win against Switzerland on Friday. Those players have since come out of isolation, and Russia fielded 21 players against Team USA on Saturday in a 5-0 loss.

The International Olympic Committee informed the International Ice Hockey Federation that the Russian and Canadian players were required to wear masks for their Group A game due to “safety and security reasons.”

The masks did not seem to hurt the Canadians’ performance as they jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead with Sarah Nurse and Sarah Fillier scoring 20 seconds apart. With her team up 2-0 a half-hour into the game, Canada’s Emerance Maschmeyer, making her di lei first Olympic start, took off her helmet, removed her facemask, gulped down some water, placed her facemask back on and continued to play .

The Russian players removed their masks to begin the third period, but the Canadians continued to wear theirs.

The game was originally scheduled to begin at 12:10 pm local time. Both teams had finished their warmups, but the Canadians stayed in their locker room rather than coming out for puck drop.

The Russian players and the officials looked confused as they waited for the Canadian team to arrive. For the first few minutes, the Russian players sat by the bleachers, after which they took laps on the ice. The officials were heard on the broadcast telling the Russian players that they were going into Team Canada’s locker room to get an update.

The Russian team eventually returned to its locker room before both teams returned to the ice about 50 minutes after the game was scheduled to start.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.