World Juniors Cancelled amid COVID Outbreak

World Juniors Cancelled amid COVID Outbreak

by December 29, 2021 0 comments

Despite only getting underway just days ago, the IIHF officially canceled this year’s World Juniors this afternoon. This is happening as a result of Omicron COVID-19 cases rising not just in general, but among participating players as well. Just in the last couple of days, multiple games had to be forfeited due to confirmed positive cases. Namely the United States and Czechia, who forfeited games against Switzerland and Finland. Along with Russia, who forfeited their game earlier today vs Slovakia. In total, just nine games of the World Juniors happened.

IIHF Statement

The IIHF came out with an official statement around an hour after Daily Faceoff’s Chris Peters said that the World Juniors were headed towards a cancelation. One of the three official quotes was first given by IIHF president Luc Tardif.

“Together with the teams, we came into this event with full confidence in the COVID-19 protocols put in place by the IIHF, the LOC, Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services, and the Public Health Agency of Canada. The ongoing spread of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant forced us to readjust our protocols almost immediately upon arrival to attempt to stay ahead of any potential spread. This included daily testing and the team quarantine requirement when positive cases were confirmed.”

“We owed it to the participating teams to do our best to create the conditions necessary for this event to work. Unfortunately, this was not enough. We now have to take some time and focus on getting all players and team staff back home safely.”

Also giving a few words was Hockey Canada President Scott Smith.

“Hockey Canada has worked tirelessly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure it would be equipped to host world-class, international events in a safe and healthy environment. Despite our best efforts, and continually adapting and strengthening protocols, we have unfortunately fallen short of our goal of completing the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship and handing out medals on Jan. 5 due to the challenges of the current COVID-19 landscape.”

Odd Protocol

Something worth mentioning is the IIHF’s handling of this year’s junior tournaments. The Men’s and Women’s U18 tournaments got outright canceled. In addition to all other IIHF events set to take place in January as well. The Men’s U20 (the World Juniors), however, was good to go, and oddly not in a bubble-like last year was. All things considered, this is not a good look for the IIHF whatsoever. If it wasn’t safe for the ladies or U18 men to play, why would it be for anyone else?

Another troubling thing that happened involved protocol in the team hotels. With no bubbles, the United States and Sweden were staying in a hotel along with the general public. At said hotel, there was a wedding reception, where some guests came into contact with players. Then two United States players tested positive. The lack of even the most basic precautions taken by the IIHF to keep these players safe is beyond unacceptable. The IIHF was careless here and now the players and staff have to pay the price.

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images 

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