The IIHF Event Executive Committee announced a change to the pre-tournament game schedule prior to the 2021 World Junior Championships due to COVID-19.
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) December 19, 2020
2021 World Junior Championships Pre Tournament Games Reduced
In a normal year, each team would play at least two pre-tournament games. However, this year is not like any other. With Germany having eight positive tests and Sweden having two positive tests, they needed an extended quarantine period. Neither team will be out of quarantine until December 24th, so the IIHF decided changes needed to be made. So the IIHF decided to come out with a new schedule.
Originally pre-tournament action was to begin Sunday and Monday. However, that is no longer the case. A new schedule came out which will see the action begin on Tuesday with more games on Wednesday. That means the teams not in quarantine will only have one pre-tournament game, while Germany and Sweden will not have any games. On Tuesday, Switzerland will face Austria while Team USA will meet Finland. On Wednesday, Canada takes on Russia while Slovakia plays the Czech Republic.
All teams prior to travelling to Edmonton were required not to have any positive tests or else those players had to miss the tournament. Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, and Team USA all had positive tests and had to make adjustments to their rosters. Upon arrival, teams were required to isolate in hotel rooms for four days and undergo daily testing. Those nations that had no positive tests began skating on Friday.
There is still a long way to go until December 25th when the tournament kicks off. As long as there are no other issues, the tournament will go off without any problems. However, if the positive cases continue to rise, the 2021 World Junior Championships could be in serious jeopardy.
Keep locked on Last Word on Hockey for all your 2021 World Junior Championship coverage.
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