Russia's newly crowned world champion junior ice hockey team is expected to fly home today, on Orthodox Christmas, after a U.S. airline kicked the squad off an earlier flight for alleged "unruly" behavior.
Delta Air Lines said some 30 members of the Russian team were asked to get off a plane at the Buffalo, New York, airport early on January 6 after concerns were raised by the flight crew about their behavior.
The plane had been due to take the Russian squad to Atlanta. The Russians on the night of January 5 in Buffalo had triumphed in the world championships with a 5-3 dramatic comeback win over Canada, and U.S. reports said the team's celebration included alcoholic beverages.
The team members are all under 20 years old, while the U.S. legal drinking age is 21.
Valery Fesyuk, executive director of the Ice Hockey Federation of Russia, said in a statement that the team members had been "overwhelmed with emotions" over their gold medal victory, and the team was delayed getting to the airport.
compiled from agency reports