Health concerns over brutal conditions at World Championship.
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Health concerns over brutal conditions at World Championship.

Should teams and players from the National Hockey League be concerned about the conditions at the World Championship?

Jonathan Larivee

A former National Hockey League goaltender is speaking out about some of the truly brutal conditions he has encountered during his time at the International Ice Hockey Federation's World Championship of hockey.

There have been reports coming out of the World Championship suggesting that the Ostravar Arena in the Czech Republic is much too warm for the players on the ice, but none even come close to the unbelievable first hand account from former NHL goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis.

The former Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick, who is representing his home nation of Latvia at the tournament, spoke to the media following a huge win over Slovakia and described just how hot he was inside of the arena. According to the former Lightning netminder, he lost a stunning 7 kilograms (or 15.4 lbs) of body weight during the course of the game as a result of all the sweating he was doing between the pipes.

Harijs Vitolins, the head coach for the Latvians at this tournament, admitted that he had never before witnessed anything like this during his professional hockey career. Vitolins is himself a former NHL player and has coached the Latvian national team since 2021, so he has had plenty of experience in the game which makes his comments all the more impactful.

"It's the first time I've seen something like that," admitted Vitolins following the game.

This may be rising to the point of being a health concern for players in the NHL that are in this tournament, and perhaps more importantly for the teams that have allowed their players to travel overseas to participate.