World Juniors still on schedule for Edmonton, Red Deer this winter ... for now
Canada's players celebrate after winning the U20 Ice Hockey Worlds gold medal match between Canada and Russia in Ostrava, Czech Republic, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
EDMONTON -- The World Juniors are on track as normal for now ahead of the upcoming 2021 tournament in Edmonton and Red Deer, according to the International Ice Hockey Federation and Hockey Canada.
The 10-country event is scheduled to begin with its traditional Boxing Day opening on Dec. 26, 2020 with the gold medal game slated for Jan. 5, 2021.
In a statement to CTV News, the IIHF says it "fully expect(s) the tournament to remain on schedule."
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It says the IIHF Council will meet in mid-September where it will hear from its COVID-19 expert group.
"There have not been any discussions however about moving the date," reads the statement.
The IIHF says it will review the status of all its tournaments in the coming weeks.
The Edmonton Oilers deferred comment to Hockey Canada which said there's been no change to the traditional hosting model for the tournament.
"At present time, there has been no change to the traditional hosting model for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship," the statement reads.
"Hockey Canada continues to engage in daily communication with the IIHF, the host communities of Edmonton and Red Deer, and the appropriate health authorities to examine all options for hosting the World Junior Championship in December and January."
Both the 2020 men's and women's hockey championships scheduled for last spring were cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, the Winter Universiade, which includes ice hockey, was cancelled from its January 2021 scheduling date.
Games for the 2021 World Juniors are scheduled to be split between Rogers Place in Edmonton and Westerner Park in Red Deer.
The World Juniors draws the best men's under-20 players from around the world.
The 2021 tournament will be the 14th time Canada has hosted the event, and the third time hosting for Edmonton having previously done so in 1995 and 2012.