IIHF Cancels 2022 World Junior Championship Due to Spread of COVID-19

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 29, 2021

EDMONTON, AB - DECEMBER 27: Pavel Novak #11 of Czechia skates against Fabrizio Pilu #17 of Germany in the third period during the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship at Rogers Place on December 27, 2021 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

The IIHF announced Wednesday it has canceled the 2022 World Junior Championship amid an outbreak of COVID-19. 


Official Announcement: The 2022 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WorldJuniors?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WorldJuniors</a> have been cancelled due to Covid-19. <br><br>Full statement at <a href="https://t.co/TNNT2FHecn">https://t.co/TNNT2FHecn</a> <a href="https://t.co/xnPs9nDWli">pic.twitter.com/xnPs9nDWli</a>

Chris Peters of Daily Faceoff first reported the tournament was set to be canceled. 

"We owed it to the participating teams to do our best to create the conditions necessary for this event to work," IIHF President Luc Tardif said in a statement. "Unfortunately, this was not enough. We now have to take some time and focus on getting all players and team staff back home safely."

The hockey tournament began Sunday and was expected to run through Jan. 5, but multiple games have already been forfeited because of positive tests within the teams.

Team USA was placed in quarantine on Tuesday while Team Czechia was required to enter quarantine on Wednesday. A positive case on the Russian team Wednesday would have necessitated a third forfeit in the tournament. 

Though the players have been following protocols, there have reportedly been issues at the team hotels:

Corey Pronman @coreypronman

One staff member on a European team in same hotel as USA in Red Deer calls the current covid protocols and lack of isolation from the community "ridiculous", saying they've come into contact with said wedding guests. <a href="https://t.co/KcM3lrXo6u">https://t.co/KcM3lrXo6u</a>

The tournament was split between Red Deer and Edmonton in Alberta, Canada.

The International Ice Hockey Federation announced it would cancel all of its January events, including two men’s Under-20 and four women’s Under-18 tournaments, because of the increase in cases of COVID-19 worldwide.

The World Juniors were allowed to go ahead since the teams "were already in the protected environment by the time the recommendation was made."

Players and staff arrived in Canada on Dec. 15 while preparing for the event.

Still, the tournament won't be concluded because of the high number of cases among the teams. 

The United States was looking to defend its title after winning the 2021 championship in Canada.