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World Juniors Cancellation, Brad Marchand’s Frustration, A Referee Shortage and More

The COVID edition

HOCKEY: SEP 29 World Cup of Hockey - Final - Game 2 - Team Europe v Team Canada Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s unfortunate that almost 2 years in a pandemic that just won’t go away, we are still dealing with multiple waves, closures and misfortunes. While sports have often provided a much-needed distraction, COVID-19 has ensured we can’t even have that. Hockey cancellations and postponements have been the talk of the week, especially with the league on hiatus until last night.

  • Earlier this week the IIHF announced they would cancel all international tournaments including the Spengler Cup and the women’s U18 tournament. Many wondered why the IIHF chose to cancel the women’s tournament while finding a way to keep the men’s world juniors. It turns out, they couldn’t keep that tournament going either. After Team USA first had to forfeit its game to Team Switzerland due to COVID protocol, two more teams had to forfeit games. With increasing cases, the IIHF decided to halt the tournament and cancel the remaining games. In retrospect, the decision to not have this tournament in a bubble format seems like a grave miscalculation and now these kids are paying the price for the IIHF’s poor planning. There is some hope for the tournament yet as IIHF president Luc Tardif stated that there could be plans to resume the tournament in the summer.
  • The NHL has made the decision that we all saw coming and pulled out of Olympic contention for the second time in a row. The combination of the numerous game cancellations and the long quarantine rules that could potentially affect players in China made this decision inevitable. Some NHL players were timid in their disappointment but Boston Bruins’ forward Brad Marchand made sure his opinion was heard loud and clear by both the NHL and the NHLPA.
  • After various Canadian provincial governments announced attendance restrictions for sporting events, the NHL decided to postpone 9 Canadian games to protect potential lost revenue. Without the Olympic interrupting the schedule, the league has more leeway to get these games re-scheduled.
  • The NHL and IIHF aren’t the only hockey leagues dealing with COVID disruptions. It seems that there is a Canada-wide shortage of hockey referees.
  • After the CDC announced new quarantine rules in the Unites States, the NHL decided to follow suit and shorten the isolation period in its COVID protocol. Due to stricter regulations in Canada, these new rules will only apply to teams in the United States. We’ll see if this has any impact on the spread.
  • While most teams are struggling with COVID-19 impacts, the Seattle Kraken are dealing with a different kind of injury bug. Earlier this week, it was announced that Brandon Tanev would miss the remainder of the season with an ACL injury. Tanev was third in scoring on a team that is yet to find its footing in this league.