The World Juniors are coming back to Alberta this summer.
The 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship, which was cancelled after four days amidst concerns over COVID-19 in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta, last December, will return to Alberta this August.
And it’s starting over fresh.
“It will be a new competition, which means we forget the results (in December),” IIHF president Luc Tardif said Thursday from the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
A press conference with Hockey Canada will announce full details of the new tournament, Tardif added.
The IIHF leadership met the media in #Beijing2022, discussed the #Olympic #icehockey tournaments, development, #Milano2026 and announced updates on the events that will be postponed from January to summer.
Read more or watch the press conference: https://t.co/bmMqotaRRn
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) February 17, 2022
A proposed summer restart was reported in January.
“Following a recommendation by the tournament COVID-19 Medical Group and the IIHF Medical Committee, the IIHF Council has decided that, due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship will be cancelled to ensure the health and safety of all participants,” the IIHF said in a statement at the time.
It will pick back up again this summer in a full restart after the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, a tournament consisting of some of the best under-18 talent in hockey.
Tardif confirmed that it will be the same under-20 age category as in the original tournament — namely players born in 2002 or younger.
He also said that the 2022 World juniors could be composed of the same rosters each country had in December even if those players turn 20 before the tournament.
It would make Owen Power, Mason McTavish, and Kent Johnson eligible to play. Each represented Canada at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
“We are talking with all participants and are negotiating on details,” Tardif said. “It will be after the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. It will be a hockey festival and the teams are excited to do it.”
Canada is expected to resume action in Group A with Finland, Czechia, Germany, and Austria. Group B would consist of Russia, Sweden, Slovakia, Switzerland, and the United States.
Relegation could be back on the table, too.
Initially, relegation was removed from the 2022 World Juniors as a result of COVID-19 concerns forcing forfeits in the tournament.