World junior hockey championship canceled amid COVID-19 surge
The remainder of the world junior hockey championship in Canada has been canceled “to ensure the health and safety of all participants” amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) announced Wednesday.
“Following a recommendation by the tournament COVID-19 Medical Group and the IIHF Medical Committee, the IIHF Council has decided that, due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship will be cancelled to ensure the health and safety of all participants,” the IIHF said in a statement.
The federation’s decision came after a Russian player tested positive for the virus, which would have led to a forfeit of the game between Russia and Slovakia scheduled for Wednesday.
The game would have been the third to be canceled due to positive cases, following matches between Switzerland and the U.S. as well as Finland and Czechia, according to the statement.
Official Announcement: The 2022 #WorldJuniors have been cancelled due to Covid-19.
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) December 29, 2021
“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,” IIHF President Luc Tardif said in a statement.
“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,” Tardif said.
Prior to this cancellation, the IIHF’s under-20 men’s championship had been held for 44 consecutive years, including during the pandemic last winter, The Associated Press reported.
The IIHF also recently canceled all of its other January events, including the 2022 under-18 women’s world championship, due to rising numbers of COVID-19 infections.
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