Trying again, and ahead to Christmas

Looking back, and forward to Christmas

Previous to the medal video games of the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton, IIHF President Luc Tardif and Henrik Bach Nielsen, IIHF Regional Vice-President and Chairman of the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship Directorate, met the accredited media to sum up the match and have an outlook to the brand new season.

“Final time we had a press convention, we needed to talk the tough resolution to cancel the World Juniors as a result of we had too many COVID instances. However we mentioned at the moment that the children and the organizing committee deserved to have a solution to play it at a later date. It’s a busy hockey calendar and we discovered August as the one time to play it and crucial factor is to have organized and to complete this match. We promised and we did it,” Luc Tardif began the press convention.

“We’ll have had 28 video games right here in a single area. It labored very effectively, there have been no main points. The demand to prepare it at this degree is excessive and so they did a hell of a job,” mentioned Henrik Bach Nielsen. “Accidents have by no means been decrease than this yr. We had no Covid instances. In our thoughts we expect Covid is over however in lots of sporting occasions it nonetheless comes up like final month on the Tour de France. We caught to the protocol and had zero instances.”

Having the World Juniors rescheduled in August was a distinct expertise but in addition one the IIHF hopes to not repeat.

“We’re proud of the standard and involvement of the groups, for which it was not really easy to return right here. We knew that August isn’t one of the best time. We didn’t anticipate the attendance that we often have. It was an expertise and we gained’t do it once more except we now have to for some motive,” mentioned Luc Tardif. “I need to look ahead somewhat than backward. What’s vital is that the ticket sale goes effectively for Halifax and Moncton.”

Practically 50,000 followers entered the precedence draw for the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship in Halifax and Moncton with the general public ticket sale to the general public beginning in September if any stock stays.

“August isn’t a hockey month but it surely was the one potential date,” echoed Henrik Bach Nielsen, who as President of the Danish Ice Hockey Union will quickly have the same expertise internet hosting the IIHF Ladies’s World Championship  in Herning and Frederikshavn beginning subsequent week. 

“Particularly for Canadians, the World Juniors is a Christmas factor and I’m completely satisfied to return to the conventional schedule in Halifax and Moncton in winter. The World Juniors is an excellent model. It has been successful throughout the Christmas holidays for a few years. This can be a one-time expertise that we needed to do it in August.”

Beside the World Juniors, a number of different tournaments within the males’s U20 and ladies’s U18 classes initially scheduled in winter needed to be postponed together with many within the decrease divisions. Simply ten days earlier than beginning in Edmonton one match completed in Mexico, and after the Ladies’s Worlds in Denmark there would be the final two tournaments of the previous season in Austria and Serbia. 

The largest cancelled occasion beside the World Juniors was the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Ladies’s World Championship that was moved from winter to summer season and from Sweden to the USA to make it occur. The match concluded efficiently in June with Canada profitable gold In Madison. 

“By September all tournaments may have been performed though some international locations that didn’t handle to take part may have missed three years. However we performed all tournaments. It was not all the time simple. With the IIHF U18 Ladies’s World Championship we discovered a brand new host with Madison, and we discovered new dates as a result of all people actually wished to play,” Luc Tardif mentioned.

One query from the media was whether or not the monetary burden as a result of COVID-19 may have penalties for the IIHF.

“We’re financially in fine condition. We misplaced some revenue however we additionally spent much less cash. However extra vital is that we misplaced some growth in hockey due to the pandemic,” mentioned Henrik Bach Nielsen.

“We went via and typically it’s good to have a very good insurance coverage. We’re financially nonetheless alive and what’s vital is to maintain our actions alive. We typically performed in a bubble due to Covid, we now have to play with out Russia due to the warfare and we can not do something about it. When there’s a pandemic and a warfare many issues change, groups can not journey that simply,” mentioned Luc Tardif.

One other query from media representatives was in regards to the IIHF’s place and potential measures as a result of allegations in opposition to Hockey Canada. At this level IIHF has not initiated its personal investigation into the allegations however has submitted an inquiry to Hockey Canada for info on the instances. Home investigations are at present underway by police and authorities authorities in Canada. 

“Now we have been following what’s going on. It’s a nationwide affair and it’s not good for ice hockey. I’m completely satisfied that the investigation will probably be reopened. After we know the info and people concerned, we’re going to take our duty however solely after the official investigation,” mentioned Luc Tardif.

“An important factor is the investigation of the police and the authorized system. Hockey Canada should give us the identical degree of knowledge as to the listening to committee. We met with the chair of the board and had good discussions in regards to the course of. We are going to then check with the IIHF Ethics Board to research how Hockey Canada handled this case, whether or not it was in accordance with our Statutes & Bylaws.”

For the previous few years, the IIHF has additionally held integrity periods on the IIHF World Junior Championship and different junior tournaments with subjects together with abuse, harassment, anti-doping and match fixing. These had been attended by all gamers from all groups and likewise joined by employees members in Edmonton (see story).

“It’s our objective not solely to construct high-level hockey gamers but in addition high-level residents,” mentioned Luc Tardif.

“We had a workshop with each group and the leaders and so they took it very constructive additionally with the timing. Now we have completed it since 2019,” Henrik Bach Nielsen mentioned.

The warfare in Ukraine was one other matter and the President answered questions on what has been completed to assist Ukraine maintain hockey alive.

“When the warfare began, the solidarity of the IIHF household was incredible. A whole bunch of gamers had the possibility to go and play in different international locations in Europe with the assist of many nationwide ice hockey associations. The NHL and NHLPA additionally participated with tools assist, the IOC helped. We helped the lads’s senior and U18 nationwide groups to go and practice overseas and be capable to take part in our tournaments. We needed to arrange buses from the border, discover locations the place they will play, discover locations to reside for the gamers and their households. Most of them are nonetheless overseas and we don’t know once they can return. Once I take a look at every part that was completed, I’m proud to be the IIHF President,” mentioned Luc Tardif.

Luc Tardif additionally confirmed that Russia and Belarus stay suspended from participation in IIHF occasions for the 2022/2023 season as determined in Could by the 2022 IIHF Annual Congress. “We do it yr by yr. For the 2022/2023 season they aren’t going to play.”

On the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship, the bottom-seeded group Latvia shocked by beating Czechia, reaching the quarter-finals and ending higher than ever in seventh place. That additionally brought about the query whether or not 10 groups is the proper quantity for the match.

“It’s our objective to develop the groups however we don’t need to do it too early,” Luc Tardif answered the query. “The World Juniors have been one among our greatest merchandise of the final 10, 15 years and one motive will be that we solely have ten groups,” mentioned Henrik Bach Nielsen.

Nonetheless, Luc Tardif confirmed the intention to sooner or later have one other improve for the IIHF Ice Hockey Ladies’s World Championship that went up from eight to 10 groups in 2019 and for the current Olympics.

“We went from eight to 10 groups and now the groups additionally under the highest division are growing extra, have extra employees to develop the gamers, so we could also be able to have 12 groups in some unspecified time in the future. It’s our job to convey hockey all around the world and we are going to within the subsequent years make investments quite a bit in hockey growth,” the IIHF President concluded.