Scroll down for the update.
On the weekend the Jukurit club, home of Toronto draft pick Mikko Kokkonen, announced three members of their U20 (junior team) had tested positive for COVID-19. The matches for the junior team and all training for the U20 and younger players were cancelled. The entire U20 team entered quarantine.
The U20 squad had played a match on Firday and Saturday, and per the CEO of the club, Jukka Toivakka, and when the players had symptoms on Sunday night, they reported for a test on Monday. The team had had a meeting the previous week, but had been off over the prior weekend, and many players had gone home or on holiday, per Toivakka.
The region of Finland where Jukurit is located has very few infections, and the country as a whole has very few cases, averaging about 20 per day nationally. The local high school is reported to have returned to distance learning because of infections there, however.
Today, Jukurit has announced that further testing after contact tracing has increased the number to 20 positive cases and includes members of the Liiga team. No names have been released and no source of the infection has been discussed by officials.
The men’s team, all players, maintenance staff, coaches and team management will now quarantine for 14 days.
Mikko Kokkonen had been with the Finnish national junior team for a camp and two games vs a Mestis team on the weekend of August 28 and 29. Jukurit last played a preseason game on August 28, and did not have another scheduled until September 17 (this game has now been cancelled). The club did have a public event scheduled for September 14, which has now been cancelled. There has been no public information about which particular members of the Jukurit Liiga team are affected by the quarantine order or who was training at the home club.
The Liiga season is set to begin on October 1.
In other European news, the Champions Hockey League, a series of friendlies between teams in top leagues, has been rescheduled to mid November. It usually starts while leagues are still in preseason, but it cannot arrange travel or play games given the current European virus situation and travel restrictions in many countries.
UPDATE on Sept 10:
Jukurit announced that a total of 23 people are infected in the region of their club. Of those all but one are on the Jukurit junior team, and one is a person in a player’s close circle. So no one else using the facility where that team plays and trains was infected just by being in the building or using the same equipment, etc. Some of the affected junior players have symptoms, but no one is seriously ill at this time.
In more unsettling news, the Finnish health authorities cannot find the source of the infections. They have strict rules about players not having parties, which they believe were followed, and a local heath official said:
“The team has fully followed the instructions and distances, been very responsible for everything. They have had strict restrictions on nightlife. It cannot be said to have slipped anywhere.”
“From the point of view of health care, when looking at the activities of the Jukures, no model can be invented that could have prevented this. Other than that there would have been no activity at all.”
All players and staff on all the teams, including the Liiga squad were tested, and so far, only seven remain to be processed. No other infections have been found, but all those people will stay in isolation for 14 days.
In news that is not necessarily related, HPK, the team Eemeli Räsänen is playing for this season, is also in isolation along with their junior team after two infections were found on their U20 squad. This has been updated to three infections now.
Many Liiga preseason matches have now been cancelled.