Organizers of the 2022 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship have abruptly canceled the ongoing men's hockey tournament due the spread of Covid-19 within the teams participating.
The tournament was being held in Alberta, Canada.
"The sportive integrity of the event has been compromised," IIHF stated, blaming the spread of the Omicron variant in an announcement made on Wednesday.
The IIHF said a member of the Russian national team tested positive for Covid-19, which forced the team into mandated quarantine. Positive tests and subsequent quarantines had already forced organizers to cancel two previously planned preliminary games – Switzerland vs. Team USA and Finland vs. Czechia (Czech Republic).
On Tuesday, Team USA was forced to forfeit their game against Switzerland following two positive Covid-19 tests within the US team.
“We owed it to the participating teams to do our best to create the conditions necessary for this event to work,” said IIHF President Luc Tardif. “Unfortunately, this was not enough. We now have to take some time and focus on getting all players and team staff back home safely.”
Hockey Canada President Scott Smith and CEO Tom Renney said, "Although we know this is the right decision, we sympathize with all participants who have earned the opportunity to represent their countries on the world stage and that will not be able to realize that dream in its entirety.”
The US men's junior team were the defending World Junior Championship gold medal winners.