This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
The world junior men’s hockey championship in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta., was cancelled Wednesday in the face of lost games due to COVID-19.
A third game forfeited in two days left the International Ice Hockey Federation, Hockey Canada and organizing committee with few options to continue a tournament with competitive integrity, and they opted to call off the 11-day, 10-country tournament.
Daily Faceoff’s Chris Peters was first to report the cancellation.
The tournament opened Sunday, but players testing positive for COVID-19 had put defending champion United States, Russia and Czechia into mandatory quarantines by Wednesday.
Teams arrived in Alberta on Dec. 15, quarantined for two days and were tested before they were allowed to skate.
Three players and two officials tested positive for the virus before the tournament started. The pre-tournament schedule was reduced to one game per team, with the Czechs and Swiss unable to play any warmup games.
“The ongoing spread of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant forced us to readjust our protocols almost immediately upon arrival to attempt to stay ahead of any potential spread,” IIHF president Luc Tardif said in a statement. “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.”
Two Americans testing positive forced the forfeiture of Tuesday’s game to the Swiss. A Czech player and a Russian player testing positive meant the forfeiture of Wednesday’s games involving those teams.
Canada was scheduled to play its third preliminary-round game against Germany on Wednesday night