Hockey Canada announced three days ago that it is cancelling three upcoming events scheduled for the fall season amid worries about the persistent threat of the COVID-19 virus for athletes.
According to a statement released on 27 September, the 2021 National Women’s Under-18 Championship, the 2021 Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup, and the 2021 World Junior A Challenge were the three tournaments affected by this decision.
In regards to the decision, Scott Smith, the President and Chief Operating Officer of Hockey Canada stated: “The ongoing pandemic, in addition to the vaccination status of some international teams, has left us with no other option”.
He added: “We believe the decision to cancel these fall events is the safest decision given the ongoing uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic at a local level, as well as the uncertainty around countries and regions being able to safely compete”.
The cancellation of these three championships will result in no other tournaments taking place this year while the association stated that it is working tirelessly to organize all upcoming events for the 2022 agenda.
This decision has been quite disappointing for multiple parties going from players to betting sites as Canada’s top sport keep suffering from the impact of the pandemic.
More details on these cancelled events
The National Women’s Under-18 Championship was scheduled to take place on 31 October this year and it was going to be hosted by Dawson Creek, British Columbia. Meanwhile, the Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup was set to begin on 5 December with Bridgewater, New Scotland serving as the home for this important competition.
Meanwhile, the Para Hockey Cup was an important event for athletes to warm up before the March 2022 Beijing Paralympics.
Finally, the World Junior A Challenge was scheduled to take place on 12 December in Cornwall, Ontario.
The association has not yet set a date for these events in 2022. However, other events including the Esso, TELUS, and Centennial Cups have already been assigned with a starting date for next year.
The Esso Cup will take place in Saskatchewan and will start on 17 April. Meanwhile, the TELUS Cup will be hosted by Cape Breton, New Scotland and it is scheduled to begin on 18 April.
Finally, the Centennial Cup presented by Tim Hortons will take place in Estevan, Saskatchewan on 20 May next year in the 2,700-seat Affinity Place.
“Despite not being able to host national events since 2019, we know the local organizing committees in these three communities will deliver world-class experiences to all participants”, stated Dean McIntosh who serves as the VP of events and properties for Hockey Canada.
The start of the National Hockey League (NHL) remains unchanged
The decision from Hockey Canada to cancel all of its events for the year has not been followed by the country’s major hockey league, the NHL, as the 2021-2022 regular season is still expected to start on 12 October as scheduled.
However, the association has not yet decided if NHL players will be allowed to participate in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics due to COVID-related concerns.
Moreover, the NHL has recently released its COVID-19 protocol for the upcoming season which includes a strong encouragement to players and other participants to get fully vaccinated.
Additionally, clubs have the right to suspend unvaccinated players and demand that they forfeit one day of their salary for each day that they fail to participate in the club’s events for failing to comply with this vaccination guidance.
Finally, the NHL will bargain with authorities to allow NHL players who live in the United States to be able to travel to Canada to participate in their respective games as travel restrictions for US passengers persist in the country.