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2022 World Junior Championship Canceled, Could IIHF Reschedule?

After three teams forfeited games due to positive COVID cases, the IIHF has decided to cancel the remainder of the World Junior Championship.

Following the announcement that three teams had to forfeit their games due to positive COVID cases, the IIHF has decided to cancel the remainder of the World Junior Championship. According to several reports, including posts from Frank Seravalli of Daily FaceoffBob McKenzie of TSN, and Emily Kaplan of ESPN, it was decided the risks were too great to continue.

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The announcement came after the U.S., Russia, and Czechia all forfeited matches. While there were only three positive cases out of hundreds of players, Finland, Austria, and Switzerland also experienced positive test results before the tournament began.

Player agent Allan Walsh notes, “I’ve been communicating with several players at the World Juniors and they’re devastated. The ‘02 born players have lost their last opportunity to represent their country on the U20 stage. I feel gutted for them. Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun says, “The decision to shut down the IIHF world junior tourney because of four positive tests doesn’t make sense. Who is behind this decision?” to which Darren Dreger of TSN responded, “IIHF medical group would be the leading edge on this. I’m sure there will be an explanation.”

This decision is being met with a lot of criticism as other tournaments (like the women’s tournament) were canceled without much explanation, the players in the men’s were allowed to mingle with wedding guests at the hotel they were staying at and three cases derailed the entire thing. Why have it at all?

Walsh added that one of the biggest issues was that the World Junior “bubble” was full of holes. The hotels were full of people everywhere and that caused issues, even if the players were trying to be cautious.

The question now is whether or not the tournament will be rescheduled. Gord Miller of TSN writes, “When the 2021 Women’s Worlds were called off by the Nova Scotia government last April, the tournament was played in August in a bubble in Calgary. I wouldn’t rule out this tournament being played at a later date, potentially in the summer. I’m sure they’ll look at every option.”

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