Ice hockey's World Junior Championship to be held in Edmonton bubble

Team Canada celebrates after defeating Russia in the gold medal game at the World Junior Hockey Championships in 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS  Ryan Remiorz

"These are extraordinary times, and we understand the world juniors will look different this year while being played in one venue with additional safety precautions", Hockey Canada president Tom Renney said in a statement.

"This is the first time that a government of a host nation has indicated its unwillingness to remain a tournament co-host with another host nation due to political reasons", said IIHF President Rene Fasel. "As we prepare to compete in consecutive tournaments on home ice, Hockey Canada extends its appreciation to the Canadian Hockey League for its support of the National Junior Team and the IIHF World Junior Championship".

Today, the IIHF also announced that the 2022 World Junior Championship would now be held in Edmonton and Red Deer as it was meant to this year. That tournament had been scheduled for Sweden, which will now host the 2024 WJC. By returning in 2022, the IIHF hopes to mitigate some of the expected losses from operating a bubble and not allowing fans into the building at this year's event. "The health and safety of players, officials and fans is our top priority".

Scheduled to be held in Edmonton and Red Deer this December and January, the 2021 World Junior Championship will now be held entirely within the Edmonton Ice District. Group B features Russia, Sweden, the United States, the Czech Republic and Austria.

"Hockey Canada believes it will be able to host a safe and successful event for all participants and the community at large this year by following strict safety protocols set forth by the appropriate health authorities".

"I sincerely thank the Swedish Ice Hockey Association and the City of Gothenburg for their understanding and cooperation which enabled us to come to this agreement", said Fasel. "We are confident that together with the IIHF we will find a solution to cover the already-invested costs".


In addition, the IIHF announced that Olympic qualification tournaments are postponed until further notice.

The IIHF also announced the cancelation of five lower-level under-20 tournaments.

The 2020 edition of the Men's World Championship was cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis.

IIHF General Secretary Horst Lichtner appeared to underline that stance, insisting that "the Expert Group's job will be to review all potential risks that now exist with the ability of Minsk/Riga to function as tournament hosts", rather than making any judgement on moral concerns. June, but the host race in Belarus has provoked opposition due to the unstable political situation in the country.

The IIHF will form an "Expert Group" to review every aspect of the upcoming tournament, including from financial, medical, event, marketing, sport, legal and administrative perspectives.

The expert group will present its views at the next meeting of the IIHF Board in November.

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