The International Ice Hockey Federation (FIHG) and Hockey Canada recognize this: they were afraid on several occasions that the World Junior Hockey Championship could not be concluded.
Despite several pitfalls, especially at the start of the competition, the gold medal match will finally be played on Tuesday night between Canada and the United States. In the end, no match in the competition had to be canceled or postponed despite the fact that two in ten teams had been affected by cases of COVID-19 inside the bubble, namely Sweden and Germany.
The Germans were also the most affected, they who had to deal with the imposition of quarantine to nine of their players at the start of the competition after they had received positive tests for the coronavirus. After a chaotic start, the German troupe and their captain, Tim Stützle, managed to reach the quarter-final round, a first in the country’s history.
Apart from this storm at the start of the competition, no other case was subsequently identified. However, she forced organizers to consider the possibility of simply canceling the 2021 World Juniors.
“In all honesty, yes we thought about it,” said Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney. Without help [du président et chef de la direction de Hockey Canada] Scott Smith and his experience, I don’t know if we would feel the relief we feel today. There is no manual that explains how to deal with a global pandemic. ”
Same story for the FIHG. The numerous cases among the Germans at the start of the competition shook the columns of the temple.
“Are we afraid? All the time, added FIHG board member Luc Tardif, dispatched to Edmonton. From September 26, we went through ups and downs.
“We were scared until the last moment with the Germany episode. But it is necessary to underline the state of mind of the Germans because there was something to be discouraged. We imposed rules and quarantines on players. It was not an easy arrangement, but they totally played the game and kept to those constraints by continuing to focus on the possibility of going to the quarter-finals and they did. That’s a beautiful story.”
For now, the World Under-18 Championship and the World Women’s Hockey Championship, scheduled for April, have not been canceled.
“USA Hockey got an inside look at what has been done here and our intention is to have the World Under-18 Championship and that’s why we haven’t canceled it,” Tardif said of the tournament scheduled for Plymouth and Ann Arbor from April 15 to 25.
The same goes for the Women’s World Championship, scheduled for Truro and Halifax from April 7 to 17.
“We will do everything we can to make this tournament take place in Halifax,” he added.
Fasel is fine
Moreover, René Fasel could not be present in Edmonton this year. The president of the FIHG had contracted COVID-19 a few days before the official entry of the teams into the Edmonton bubble. Tuesday, he assured that he is better.
“I’m fine. I’m 99% I would say. I couldn’t run the New York Marathon or referee a hockey game, but it’s okay! ”