On Thursday, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) announced that the World Juniors Tournament will take place in Canada for 2021 and 2022. The 2021 World Juniors is set for Edmonton, with the 2022 World Juniors being held in Red Deer, Alberta.
The 2021 #WorldJuniors will be played in a bubble without spectators in Edmonton🇨🇦, in 2022 with fans in Edmonton & Red Deer. The World Juniors in Gothenburg🇸🇪 will be moved to 2024. https://t.co/LIK2g8RYiG
📷 Codie McLachlan/CP/AP/Keystone pic.twitter.com/s3MO4Mc7n0
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) September 17, 2020
Edmonton Bubble Hosting 2021 World Juniors
Since the start of the bubble, back on July 26th, the NHL has conducted thousands of COVID-19 tests within the seven-week span that the players have been there. With no positive tests returning, many other sports organizations looked to the Edmonton bubble as “the guideline.” In a statement made by IIHF President Rene Fasel…
“This is a tough decision to have to take, but ultimately we did not have a choice. 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.”
With that being said, there has yet to be any specific details on travel accommodations for the teams. But the groups are set for the 2021 tournament. Looking slightly different, the ten teams participating in the tournament will be split into two groups of five. In Group A, there will be Canada, Finland, Slovakia, Switzerland, and Germany. On the other side, Group B consists of Russia, Sweden, the United States, Czech Republic, and Austria.
What Comes Next?
With the Edmonton bubble going so well, it makes sense for other organizations to take it over. Now that the 2021 World Juniors is set, we now have more hockey to look forward to. The IIHF Committee also announced on Thursday that they have cancelled the lower-level tournaments. Anything under U-20 will no longer take place through the end of January. This is quite unfortunate for lower-level players and coaches. On the bright side, that means no teams have to worry about relegation, but that also means there’s no room for promotion.
Finally, the last change. The World Junior Tournament set in Gothenburg, Sweden will now happen in 2024 where, hopefully, no bubble should be needed. Hockey fans around the world should be ecstatic that the World Juniors are back. It’s one of the most fun hockey tournaments to watch. This allows us at home to feel like we’re getting back to “normal.” As hard as it’s been without spectators in the stands, this is another small step back in the right direction to get sports back to where they were.
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