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Inside the World Juniors

The 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship will look quite a bit different than what fans are used to, but what exactly do all the changes mean?

Jason La Rose
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September 18, 2020
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Hockey Canada and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) made it official on Sept. 17 – all games of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship will be played in Edmonton, Alta., without fans in attendance.

It was also announced that the World Juniors would return to Alberta in 2022, with Edmonton and Red Deer – the two cities previously announced as the hosts for 2021 – set to welcome the hockey world for Canada’s holiday tradition.

So what does the change mean for this year’s tournament? For hockey fans? For ticket holders in Edmonton and Red Deer? For the health and safety of all participants?

It’s a lot to unpack, so let’s take a closer look.

Where will the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship be played?
The entirety of the World Juniors – all preliminary-round games, quarterfinals, semifinals and medal games – will be played in Edmonton, with no fans in attendance. All games will take place at Rogers Place, with the Downtown Community Arena serving as the practice facility.

So no games in Red Deer?
Not this year, but the World Juniors will be back in Alberta in 2022 and Red Deer will co-host alongside Edmonton.

What about pre-tournament games?
Unlike previous years when Canada has hosted, when games would be held in a handful of communities, all pre-tournament games will be played at Rogers Place in the lead-up to the World Juniors.

How will the bubble in Edmonton work?
Hockey Canada has worked closely with the IIHF, the National Hockey League, the Edmonton Oilers, the Oilers Entertainment Group, and local, provincial and national health authorities to ensure many of the same protocols that have made the NHL bubble in Edmonton so successful will be in place for the World Juniors. The plan is still awaiting final approval from the federal government.

How will nine international teams safely enter Canada?
Three charter flights will deliver the eight teams from Europe, while the American team will travel directly to Edmonton by bus. These protocols will ensure minimal contact with Canadians outside of the bubble. Hockey Canada continues to work with the provincial and federal governments on quarantine requirements for the teams arriving from outside Canada.

What about testing for COVID-19?
Players and staff from all 10 teams will be tested prior to their departure for Edmonton, as well as upon their arrival. The current plan is for all players and staff to be tested on a daily basis while inside the bubble.

I bought tickets for Edmonton and Red Deer. What happens to those?
Fans who purchased tickets for the 2021 World Juniors in both cities can carry those ticket packages over to 2022. Full refunds are available for fans who wish to use that option. Ticket holders have been contacted to either confirm their tickets for 2022 or begin the refund process.

What does the schedule for the 2021 World Juniors look like?
In order to accommodate all games at Rogers Place, the tournament may begin earlier than its traditional Boxing Day start date. The gold medal game will be played Jan. 5. Once the IIHF and the competing nations have approved a game schedule under the new single-venue format, it will be released to the public. There is no timeline for the schedule to be released.

What will game presentation look like in Edmonton with no fans in attendance?
Hockey Canada is collaborating with its broadcast partners at TSN and RDS on ways to raise the production value for players in the venue and fans at home. There is also the potential of using some of the infrastructure used by the NHL during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Wasn’t the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship going to be hosted in Sweden?
Hockey Canada and the IIHF worked with the Swedish Ice Hockey Association, which was set to host the 2022 World Juniors in Gothenburg. Under the adjusted hosting schedule, Gothenburg will now host in 2024. The 2023 World Juniors remain scheduled for Novosibirsk, Russia.

For more information:

Dominick Saillant
Director, Communications
Hockey Canada
514-895-9706
[email protected]

 

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada
403-284-6484
[email protected]

 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada
Office: 403-777-4567
Mobile: 905-906-5327
[email protected]

 

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