In order to maintain the safety of players and officials, and in compliance with Canadian government guidelines related to COVID-19, the IIHF Council also approved a proposal to hold the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship without spectators.
“This is a tough decision to have to take, but ultimately we did not have a choice,” said IIHF President René Fasel. “The health and safety of players, officials, and fans is our top priority. We were impressed with the presentation from the local organizing committee outlining how a potential “bubble” scenario would operate within Edmonton, and we are confident that we can follow the NHL’s great example in creating a safe environment for teams to compete.”
The move to a single venue in Edmonton will necessitate a review of the tournament schedule, which will be announced at a later date.
Fans that have purchased tickets to the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship and do not receive an e-mail from the Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG & Rogers Place) with their current ticketing options can contact [email protected] for information.
Competition “bubble” in place for Edmonton
During a briefing with the participating teams last week, the Local Organizing Committee for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship shared a set of initial proposals concerning travel to Edmonton, COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, and a plan for a competition bubble that would isolate both teams and tournament officials within the Edmonton Ice District, currently playing host to the NHL’s playoff bubble.
Canada and Sweden to switch hosting duties for ‘22, ‘24
In order to help mitigate the costs associated with organizing a competition bubble for the tournament, the IIHF Council together with Hockey Canada and the Swedish Ice Hockey Association have agreed that the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship will be hosted in Edmonton and Red Deer, with the expectation that the 2022 World Juniors would be held with spectators in both venues.
The 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship was scheduled to be hosted in Gothenburg, Sweden. Under the new agreement, Sweden will host the 2024 World Juniors.
“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 IIHF President René Fasel. “This solution will allow for the IIHF together with Hockey Canada to reduce the overall costs associated with putting on the 2021 tournament in a bubble environment.
“We asked a lot of our Swedish partners to make this adjustment in a short amount of time, but we needed their cooperation to save this tournament and make it possible for the World Juniors to be delivered this year.”
“It was not a favourable position for us to be placed in as we have started preparations together with the city of Gothenburg to host next year,” said Swedish Ice Hockey Association President Anders Larsson. “But we had constructive discussions with Hockey Canada and the IIHF. We understood that this switch was necessary to preserve Canada’s capability to host the Juniors this season, especially considering all the additional investment that they must make now to ensure the tournament can be played in a safe environment. We are confident that together with the IIHF we will find a solution to cover the already-invested costs.”
No promotion/relegation in 2021
Following the cancellation of the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division I Group A, the IIHF Council confirmed that there will not be any team relegated from the 2021 World Juniors.
The relegation round of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship will therefore be removed from the new tournament schedule.
The IIHF continues to receive updates on all active 2020/21 tournaments via its COVID-19 Event Status Tracker. The IIHF’s COVID-19 Expert Group will continue to monitor all events and provide health and safety recommendations to the Council in the leadup to the 2020/21 season.