Dec 30: Following the cancelation, the IIHF has announced that additional cases were confirmed in players across five teams–Canada, Russia, Germany, Sweden, and Slovakia–along with another on-ice official. The federation has also announced that all team members and officials that tested positive will remain in a mandatory minimum ten-day quarantine before returning to their respective countries and club teams.
Dec 29: After three teams were forced to forfeit matches this week following positive COVID-19 cases, the IIHF has canceled the remainder of the World Junior Championship, according to several reports including Chris Peters of Daily Faceoff, Bob McKenzie of TSN, and Emily Kaplan of ESPN. The U.S., Russia, and Czechia all forfeited matches, and before the tournament even began, Finland, Austria, and Switzerland also experienced positive test results.
The IIHF has confirmed the cancelation now, noting that the “sportive integrity of the event” was compromised after three forfeits. They also released this statement from 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.
This cancelation follows the decision to cancel the six other international tournaments in January, but go ahead with the World Juniors as planned. The event was not in a tight bubble like last year, with reports surfacing today that players and staff had even interacted with wedding attendees in the hotel they were staying at.
It is not yet clear when players will depart for their respective clubs, or who exactly tested positive for each country. The official statements from the IIHF have not yet been released.
It’s hard to fathom how exactly the tournament was expected to be played at all if a few positive cases derailed it so quickly, but with the WJC being such a significant financial event for the IIHF, it’s easy to see why they would try. The 2023 event is currently scheduled to be held in Novosibirsk, Russia.
For a player like Owen Power of Canada, this was his one shot at playing in the tournament given he will turn 20 before next year’s event begins. Power was not allowed to leave Michigan for last year’s event because of the uncertain role he would play, and also missed out on the NCAA tournament when his program ended up pulling out because of COVID precautions. It’s been a disappointing stretch for the Buffalo Sabres prospect and other top players of his age group, but he’ll now return to Michigan along with players like Kent Johnson, Matty Beniers, Brendan Brisson, and Luke Hughes with the NHL just over the next ridge.
Others, like Connor Bedard and Matvei Michkov, still have time to participate in future World Juniors but are missing a chance to put up special, record-breaking numbers at their young age. The top picks for 2023 were already impressing fans across the world with their skills and will now return to their club teams to wait for the next international stage. In Bedard’s last game–and the last one that will be played at the 2022 tournament–he scored four goals, becoming the first 16-year-old Canadian to record a hat trick at the tournament since Wayne Gretzky.
Well it must be all Canada’s fault…it’s just plain and simple with the spread of this strain nothing to mess around about..smart move yet. NHL is next ..
This “strain” is extremely weak and has little to no effect on healthy people, let alone healthy athletes.
Please fill me in on why the spread of this strain isn’t something to mess around with, Bucky?
This is my shocked face
They were apparently partying? Morons.
They’re just big Joe Rogan fans as simple as that
What an incredible lack of foresight. This was inevitable considering the protocols that were in place. They either had to go full bubble or stop testing asymptomatic players altogether if they wanted any different result than this. What a complete joke.
once again – it cant be anything but all or nothing. anything else doesnt and wolnt work.
Pause it and play in the summer when Covid will be more under control. It’s only fair to the players who will never have this opportunity again.
By the summer, there will be something like the Omega variant that might actually cause more than the cold-like symptoms that Omicron causes.
“oh pause it and play it in the summer” wow! So simple yet so genius! Can you believe the smarts of @jdgoat kid? If only the rest of the earth population was as clever…
@cjmask Hopefully it’s just like the past year. We had a spike like this around this time in 2020 and then we’re basically back to normal for most of 2021. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same pattern happens again in 2022.
We have “spikes” in viruses every winter and “spikes” in allergies every spring. Team Covid calls them variants now.
Yes which means it’s entirely plausible that they will be able to play games in the offseason when the numbers will be more in control.
…- – -…
… . -. -.. ..-..-. .. . … .- -. .-.. . .- … .
@Mac – I think that’s code for WTF. :D
@Gbear – That’s the *other* translation! Inspired by the original, “Damn The Standard Oil Company!” ;)
Fiddlesticks! (excuse my French) what a travesty
@G – You’re French? We’ve got a fantastic job opening for you! It’s in MTL, and involves fixing a mess created by the previous guy. The perks include GCs for All-You-Can-Eat Lobster Rolls! And weekly courses on how to figure out the streets downtown. I was DQ’d, since the best I could do was a half-assed impression of one Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau…
lol didn’t want to use bad language on comment on cancellations didn’t want to get sent to North Pole by PHR staff for language on here, thou live in south do have a little Cajun French in vocabulary , closest to lobster for me is crawdads and not use to any big cities will stick to country life , Happy New Year
Very 2019-2020 thinking for a 2021-2022 situation.
There is no hiding from Omicron. It spreads too easily.
Those players are at no greater risk at the WJC as they are literally anywhere else on Earth at this point.
hit the nail on the head.
True. I wonder who pushes this 2019 thinking into masses
I would safely bet that not a single kid who tested positive was even mildly ill. This is just plain insanity at this point.
What a bunch of candy a**es. “ThEy WeRe pArTyInG” who cares!? Let them party. They’re 18 year old kids. They have a 99.9% survival rate – if you have underlying conditions that put you at more risk, stay home or sign the waiver like we have to do for our beer league teams. Sheesh.