Saturday should have been the opening game of the Russian Women’s Hockey League final series. KRS Vanke Rays were preparing for another showdown with Agidel, last year’s runner-up and our closest rival in the regular season that ended in February. The stage was set for an absorbing best-of-five series between two great teams.
However, as we’ve learned over the last 12 months, life is what happens when you start making plans. Some of Agidel’s players tested positive for COVID-19 during the week and, sensibly, the WHL has decided to postpone the start of the series until everyone is healthy. A statement appeared on the league’s official website last night explaining the delay and promising to advise on a new schedule for the Grand Final in due course.
The final series promises to be worth the wait. A repeat of last year’s tournament decider, it follows an epic battle in the semi-final between Agidel and SKIF. The two teams were tied on points at the end of the regular season, and in the playoffs, all three games were decided by shoot-outs. In the event, Agidel prevailed, but only after retrieving a 0-2 deficit in the decider in Ufa last Sunday. That preserves Agidel’s proud record of reaching every post season final since the league introduced playoffs back in 2018.
For now, though, the excitement is on hold. For the Lady Dragons, there is little to do except wait for further news and keep in shape following the early end of our own semi-final series, a 2-0 sweep of Biryusa completed on March 4. It’s another challenge in a season full of them, but we’ve overcome these problems before and we’re ready to tackle this one too.