Home Hockey World Junior Championship, a Showcase for Hockey’s Top Prospects, Is Canceled

World Junior Championship, a Showcase for Hockey’s Top Prospects, Is Canceled


The World Junior Championship, an annual showcase of the subsequent era of hockey stars, which was already underway in Canada, was canceled on Wednesday because the speedy unfold of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus continued to wreak havoc on the sports activities world.

The Worldwide Ice Hockey Federation, the game’s world governing physique, mentioned it was scrapping the match after a participant on the Russian nationwide group examined optimistic for the virus, which might have necessitated the cancellation of the third recreation in two days, between Russia and Slovakia on Wednesday.

Two earlier video games — between Switzerland and america and between Finland and the Czech Republic — had already been canceled due to optimistic instances.

The cancellation was an ominous signal for sports activities leagues, together with the N.H.L. and the N.B.A., which have been struggling to keep up schedules amid a steep surge in instances pushed by the convergence of the Omicron and Delta variants.

On Tuesday, U.S.A. Hockey mentioned the ultimate two video games of the ladies’s nationwide group’s My Why Tour, which had been set for Jan. 3 and Jan. 6 in Alberta, Canada, had been canceled, lower than a month earlier than the group was scheduled to depart for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The World Juniors, which was additionally being held in Alberta, is a beloved post-Christmas tradition in Canada, transfixing followers within the nation, which has traditionally dominated the occasion.

The USA gained final yr’s match, which options among the finest males’s hockey gamers underneath 20, who prepare for years to succeed in the occasion and are thought of top prospects for the N.H.L.

Over the previous decade, the match’s most useful gamers have included the New York Rangers’ first general decide Alexis Lafreniére (2020), Filip Forsberg of the Nashville Predators (2014) and John Gibson of the Anaheim Geese (2013).

Luc Tardif, the president of the Worldwide Ice Hockey Federation, mentioned the group had begun the match “with full confidence” within the protocols that had been put in place, however then needed to readjust them as instances surged. The protocols included every day testing and a group quarantine requirement when optimistic instances had been confirmed.

“Unfortunately, this was not enough,” Mr. Tardif mentioned in a statement. “We now have to take some time and focus on getting all players and team staff back home safely.”

John Vanbiesbrouck, normal supervisor of america Nationwide Junior Workforce, mentioned he was happy with the group and would work to make sure they get house safely.

“Our hearts go out to the players and staff of not just our country,” he mentioned in a statement, “but every nation, who have worked so hard, and sacrificed so much, to get to this point.”

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