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Women’s U-18 Championship Cancelled

With all the cancellations we are hearing about are we to be shocked to hear that the Women’s Under-18 World Hockey Championship that was also cancelled by the International Ice Hockey Federation.

I am hearing from some that they feel this is wrong and becoming somewhat of a chauvinistic move rather than a move to reflect on the safety of the world.

Those who are thinking this way are only focused on their own well being rather than society in general and while everyone has their own ideas on Covid, first lets all get safe and they reflect back. 

Naturally these thoughts are focused on the fact that the IIHF World Juniors are being played in both Edmonton and Red Deer, both in a Province displaying high Covid numbers.

There was one pre-tournament game between Sweden and the Czech Republic that was cancelled all due to COVID-19 protocol, but the tournament will run as scheduled.

Prior to Christmas the IIHF officially announced that all events scheduled to begin in January were called off after being given advice by medical experts due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

IIHF president Luc Tardif, mentioned “These are hard facts to have to face, and as with last year we must take the difficult decision to cancel men’s and women’s IIHF events, including the women’s U18 top division now for the second year in a row.”

Communications Manager Adam Steiss for the IIHF stated “The men’s world juniors are going ahead while the January tournaments have been cancelled because the epidemiological situation changed drastically only after the [men’s] U20 players entered quarantine.”

In an e-mail sent to the Canadian Press he stated “The medical committee’s recommendation took into account the travel risks that the teams playing in the January tournaments would have faced, and the belief that the tournament organizers would not have been able to safely manage an outbreak.”

This is the second consecutive year that the tournament has been cancelled due to Covid and reportedly we are hearing that the IIHF could not postpone the women’s U18 tournament starting January 8th in Linköping and Mjölby, Sweden. 

Those games are permitted to be played obtaining a press release with the following:

“Our entire team has worked hard both on and off the ice to be ready to compete next month in Linköping and Mjölby, Sweden, even going so far as to cancel our selection camp out of an abundance of caution and to ensure our players and staff would be able to represent Canada on the world stage.”

As one might expect some of the players have spoken out on social media regarding concerns of gender imbalance within the IIHF

Players speak out

Hayley Wickenheiser, Canada’s most regarded player and  Hockey Hall of Famer mentioned via Twitter that she questions the IIHF’s stated reason for cancelling the women’s U18 tournament.

“Nothing to do with safety, if they can pull off the [men’s tournament],” she wrote, noting that event is a much bigger source of revenue for the IIHF. “Where there is a will, there is always a way. I question the ‘will’ part.”

The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association on Twitter “Disappointed. Nope. OUTRAGED! adding “These women deserve better. Yet again.”

American star Kendall Coyne Schofield also took to social media “The IIHF has prioritized & held top division men’s events during the pandemic but the top division women’s events – cancelled – again. UNACCEPTABLE. Figure out how to safely play the U18 Worlds this season, just like the U18 men & #WorldJuniors – These players DESERVE to play too.”

Canada’s Erin Ambrose also joined the chorus.

“Why is it automatically a cancellation? We understand the concerns regarding health and safety but why is a postponement not considered for these women as the men’s tournaments continue without hesitation? #equalityinsport



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