EDMONTON & RED DEER – On December 29, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) announced the cancellation of the 2022 World Junior Championship.
The following is a joint statement on behalf Hockey Canada and the IIHF from Tom Renney, chief executive officer, Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer, and Luc Tardif, president of the IIHF, in response to the cancellation of the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship.
“Hockey Canada has 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. 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.” - Tom Renney and Scott Smith
“Together with the teams, we came into this event with full confidence in the COVID-19 protocols put in place by the IIHF, the local organizing committee, 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 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." - Luc Tardif
The following are statements on behalf of Hockey Canada from Dean McIntosh, vice-president of events and properties, and Scott Salmond, senior vice-president of hockey operations.
“The COVID-19 landscape is ever-changing, and since we started planning for the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship, we were confident in the health and safety protocols that were put in place. In working with the Public Health Agency of Canada, Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services and the IIHF, we were confident in our hosting plan, and continued to have ongoing discussions with all stakeholders to ensure our protocols were aligned with the Government of Alberta. Shortly after teams arrived in Canada, health and safety protocols were strengthened and daily testing was implemented to ensure cases of COVID-19 were detected early and to minimize spread to participants and the community. We are disappointed for the participants, volunteers and fans, but this is the right decision given the current situation." - Dean McIntosh
“Today’s news is devastating for the players, coaches and support staff with Canada’s National Junior Team. From the time our group arrived at selection camp, we have been cautious in our approach to ensure we could arrive in Edmonton healthy and eligible to participate in the tournament, but we recognize how difficult it is to maintain a secure environment given the COVID-19 pandemic. Our team has worked hard and made sacrifices to earn the opportunity to represent Canada at the World Juniors, and to potentially play for a gold medal on home ice in front of our fans. We share our disappointment with our fans, the other nine competing teams, and the event staff and volunteers. On behalf of our entire team, we wish to extend our appreciation to the IIHF and the local organizing committee for their time and effort in planning for the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship.” - Scott Salmond