Public/Global Health

International Ice Hockey Federation canceling January events due to COVID-19 concerns

A hockey stick behind a puck on an ice rink
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The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has canceled multiple events in January due to the recent surge of COVID-19 infections. 

The event cancellations include the 2022 U18 Women’s World Championship and the 2022 U20 Men’s World Championship. 

The IIHF is still planning to hold the 2022 U18 Men’s World Championship in Germany in April, according to ESPN

This will also be the second straight year the federation hasn’t held a women’s tournament, ESPN reported. 

“Following a recommendation by the IIHF Medical Committee due to recent developments in the global COVID-19 epidemiological situation and the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, the IIHF Council has decided to cancel all IIHF tournaments that were scheduled to begin in January 2022,” the federation said in a statement. 

In a similar statement, IIHF President Luc Tardif expressed that canceling the tournaments for a second year was a hard decision. 

“It is the consensus of the IIHF Medical Committee that the organizers would not have the capability to manage an outbreak of the virus, especially with the rapid transfer of the Omicron variant that we have seen in the NHL and other leagues,” Tardif said. 

This comes as the NHL announced on Wednesday that league players won’t participate in the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics amid COVID-19 concerns. 

The league also postponed cross-border games for a week as multiple clubs including the Calgary Flames are currently dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks. 

Some prominent hockey players shared their displeasure with the federation’s latest decision to cancel tournaments. 

“The IIHF has prioritized & held top division men’s events during the pandemic but the top division women’s events – cancelled – again,”  USA women’s national hockey team player Kendall Coyne Schofield said in a statement. “UNACCEPTABLE. Figure out how to safely play the U18 Worlds this season, just like the U18 men & #WorldJuniors. These players DESERVE to play too.”

Tags #coronavirus COVID-19 International Ice Hockey Federation Luc Tardif

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