IIHF forced to cancel 2022 World Junior Championship

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EDMONTON, AB - DECEMBER 26: Connor Bedard #16 of Canada battles against David Jiricek #5 of Czechia in the first period during the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship at Rogers Place on December 26, 2021 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, AB - DECEMBER 26: Connor Bedard #16 of Canada battles against David Jiricek #5 of Czechia in the first period during the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship at Rogers Place on December 26, 2021 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)

After three days of competition, the 2022 World Junior Championship is over.

The IIHF announced on Wednesday that the tournament has been cancelled after COVID-19 outbreaks on several teams forced the postponement of games.

The United States was forced to forfeit its game versus Switzerland on Tuesday after two positive tests were discovered. Two more games were shelved Wednesday after positive cases turned up on the Russian and Czech teams, leading to the official cancellation of the tournament.

Officially, the last game of the tournament was Canada's 11-2 win over Austria on Tuesday.

According to several reporters, planning — or more specifically the protection of players, coaches and staff members — was severely lacking in Edmonton and Red Deer. There has apparently been an unavoidable level of overlap between participants and the general public as the conditions fail to provide suitable protection from potential contamination of the highly transferrable virus.

In some of the same venues last winter, the IIHF successfully operated inside a bubble, preventing the virus from entering and spreading through the facilities and teams.

It seems the IIHF and tournament organizers severely underestimated the spread and potential impacts of the virus, which is both inexcusable but also somewhat understandable, given the ever-changing landscape.

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