Hockey Canada has seen the success of the NHL playoff bubbles and will go that route for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship.
The IIHF approved a Hockey Canada proposal that will see the 2021 tournament, set to begin in late December, take place in the Edmonton hub without fans.
“This is a tough decision to have to take, but ultimately we did not have a choice,” said IIHF President René Fasel. “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.”
The 2021 tournament was originally scheduled to be played in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta. The 2022 event will now take place in both cities. Gothenburg, Sweden, the original hosts for 2022, will get the 2024 tournament.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, three charter flights will fly European teams to Edmonton in early December, allowing them time to quarantine before the tournament. There will be daily COVID-19 testing upon arrival.
Canada, who have won gold in two of the last three tournaments, is in a group with Finland, Slovakia, Switzerland, and Germany. The U.S., gold medalists in 2017, will play Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Austria. Moving the tournament to a single venue will require the IIHF to create a new schedule.