- Canadian hockey players stuck in South Africa due to COVID-19 travel restrictions are now set to depart on December.8 after receiving travel permission from the Canadian government.
- The team was stuck in Potchefstroom, about 120 kilometers southwest of Johannesburg.
Canadian hockey players stuck in South Africa due to COVID-19 travel restrictions are now set to depart on December.8 after receiving travel permission from the Canadian government.
The government posted the exemption on its website on Saturday, notifying parents of the players.
“I am at relief as it looks like there is a way for them to get home now,” said Goddard from Vancouver. She is the mother of 2 players on the team: Arden Goddard-Despot, 18, and Nora Goddard-Despot, 20.
The team was stuck in Potchefstroom, about 120 kilometers southwest of Johannesburg, because of shifting COVID-19 travel restrictions late last month following the discovery of the omicron coronavirus variant.
The junior national women’s team participated in the Junior World Cup from Dec. 5-17. It was canceled, and the suspension of most flights was meant for the 21 players, five coaches plus managers, and support staff.
Before the exemption came, field Hockey Canada had already booked a flight out of Johannesburg, transiting through Germany. Initially, the governing body said the team would not board the plane because Canada required a negative PCR test in a third country.
‘A huge relief.’
Nancy Mollenhauer, the team manager, said the exemption removes the need to test in a third country.
“A huge relief, not only for the group but for all Canadians now in South Africa who are planning to make their way home,” she wrote in an email to News.
Goddard stated the tests are being secured and that the team will travel through Frankfurt to Toronto. Western-based players would then fly home through Calgary. She plans to meet her daughters at the Vancouver International Airport on the evening of December. 9.
Before the temporary exemption, Goddard said that her daughters were crestfallen and worried if they would not be home in time for Christmas.
Their moods have currently changed, said Goddard.
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