IIHF Reportedly Cancels All January Events Amid COVID-19 Omicron Surge

Erin WalshDecember 24, 2021

MONTREAL, QC - DECEMBER 19:  A closeup look at the IIHF embroidered logo on the jersey of goaltender Veini Vehvilainen of Team Finland #31 during the IIHF exhibition game against Team Canada at the Bell Centre on December 19, 2016 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  Team Canada defeated Team Finland 5-0.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

The International Ice Hockey Federation is canceling all of its January events because of the rise in COVID-19 cases, according to ESPN's Emily Kaplan. The decision could be announced as soon as Friday. 

The 2022 U18 Women's World Championships in Sweden are among the events being canceled, per Kaplan. 

According to Kaplan, many players are upset by the news because they believe the COVID-19 pandemic has "widened the gender gap in the sport." It also makes the women athletes feel the IIHF is continuing to prioritize men's programming. 

The IIHF still has the 2022 U18 men's event for April in Germany and the 2022 U20 Men's World Championship is set to be held in Edmonton from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5. In addition, several lower-tier tournaments and the 2022 Ice Hockey World Championship in Finland remain scheduled.

The IIHF's impending announcement comes after the NHL and NHL Players' Association announced that NHL players would not participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing because the league needs the two-week break in February to make up over 50 postponed games.