IIHF cancels women’s tournaments, Olympic qualification events; World Juniors unaffected

The IIHF has voted to cancel several tournaments for the coming season, with one exception being the 2021 World Junior Championship.

This year’s World Junior event was scheduled to run December 26, 2020 to January 5, 2021, in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta, but will instead be played in a “bubble” in Edmonton.

All lower division tournaments in the men’s Under-20 category will be cancelled. The 2021 IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship will also be cancelled together with all other tournaments in the women’s Under-18 category.

“Requiring each tournament hosts to operate a competition ‘bubble’ is not a practical request for our lower-division tournament organizers, many of whom are already stretched financially from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said IIHF president René Fasel in a statement. “The IIHF does not have the resources necessary to properly supervise the safe operation of these tournaments so that the minimum requirements for COVID-19 health and safety can be met.”

Fasel noted that other financial factors related to testing requirements for incoming players and officials, together with the current travel risks associated with organizing an international tournament, could not be absorbed by either the IIHF or by the host organizer.

The cancellation of those tournaments does not impact the 2021 World Championship or Women’s World Championship. The Under-18 World Championship and all other men’s Under-18 tournaments are also unaffected.

In addition, the IIHF announced that Olympic qualification tournaments are postponed until further notice.