Fife Flyers put into league's COVID protocols after positive test cancels road trip
Fife Flyers have have been put into ice hockey’s COVID protocols after reporting a positive test result.
It came as the club was hit by the news of drastic curbs on attendances as part of the Scottish Government’s bid to halt the rapid transmission of the omicron COVID variant.
The new restrictions, effective from Boxing Day for at least three weeks, mean Flyers cannot have more than 200 fans rinkside for matches across the festive season which, traditionally, attract bumper crowds.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday afternoon as the team was due to travel to the Midlands to face Coventry Blaze in a league game.
That schedule changed after Flyers reported a positive COVID test on Tuesday which placed the team in the EIHL’s COVID protocols, forcing the postponement of the match.
Flyers’ Facebook page only said the game was “unfortunately postponed” but hosts Coventry added further details.
Its website said: “The Genting Casino Coventry Blaze game scheduled for Wednesday 22nd December at 7.30pm against the Fife Flyers has been postponed after the Flyers were placed into the Elite League’s COVID19 protocol.
“Flyers received a positive COVID test ahead of the fixture on Tuesday evening meaning that the game can no longer take place.”
The Fife club is scheduled to play seven games between Boxing Day and January 15 when the restrictions on crowds will be reviewed.
Flyers, Glasgow Clan and Dundee Stars are all set to meet in a series of mini derbies across the festive period.
Boxing Day should see Flyers travelling to face Dundee Stars - a match which has often attracted a near full house with many making gthe short journey from the Kingdom.
Other games affected include Dundee in Kirkcaldy on Tuesday 28th, and back to back Ne’er meetings with Glasgow Clan - two of the biggest gates of the season which have, in the past, attracted full houses.
The clubs are scheduled to meet in Renfrew on Hogmanay and again in Kirkcaldy on January 2.
Flyers then return to Dundee on the third before hosting Belfast on January 8 and Nottingham on the 15th.
The challenges facing the EIHL are not confined to Scotland either.
The Welsh Government’s decision to effectively ban all spectators means Cardiff Devils will have to play behind closed doors.
The three Scottish teams issued a joint statement in response to the Scottish Government’s restrictions – and urged fans to be patient ass they assessed the full impact.
It said: “The Elite League’s three Scottish teams, Dundee Stars, Fife Flyers, and Glasgow Clan, acknowledge the instructions from the Scottish Government to play in front of no more than 200 spectators for three weeks from December 26, and also that this requirement could be extended.
“Clubs will be urgently working with the respective authorities in Scotland to understand the support packages available to them in light of these restrictions. “It described the situation as “fast-moving and changing very quickly” and added: “We’d like to ask our fans to please hold off contacting their teams until we have been able to seek further information from Sport Scotland and the Scottish Government.
“We appreciate everyone’s patience at this time, and will communicate further regarding fixtures from December 26 and onwards when we have received more information."