Saeed Akhtar, Local Journalism Initiative – The Milton Reporter Staff
The World Juniors became another casualty of Canada’s ongoing battle with COVID-19’s Omicron variant.
The 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship, which started from Edmonton and Red Deer, has been cancelled due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.
In a statement, the IIHF Council said they made the decision following a recommendation by the tournament COVID-19 Medical Group and the IIHF Medical Committee to ensure the health and safety of all participants.
“The decision comes following a positive case on a player on the Russian national team, which would have necessitated a forfeit of the Russia-Slovakia game scheduled for 29 December. The game is the third to be cancelled due to positive cases, following Switzerland-USA and Finland-Czechia,” it added.
“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,” said IIHF President Luc Tardif.
Hockey Canada President Scott Smith and CEO Tom Renney shared that they have “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,” according to an official statement.
Not the ending anyone wanted, but we push through with the support of the entire nation behind Team Canada. We thank the staff, volunteers, officials and so many more who devoted countless hours to the #WorldJuniors.
Heads up, sticks down, we move forward. 🇨🇦🏒 pic.twitter.com/33sUgYdBmn
— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) December 30, 2021
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have always made the health and safety of event participants and the community at large a priority, and given the news that we have encountered positive cases within the World Juniors environment, we understand and support the decision to cancel the remainder of the event. Although we know this is the right decision, we sympathize with all participants who have earned the opportunity to represent their countries on the world stage and that will not be able to realize that dream in its entirety.”