USA Hockey asks IIHF to postpone U18 women’s tournament

USA Hockey has called on the International Ice Hockey Federation to reconsider the cancellation of the Women’s Under-18 World Championship scheduled to take place in Sweden in January.

This is the second year in a row that the tournament has been canceled. The 2021 event has also been canceled due to the pandemic. The IIHF said the decision to cancel all January tournaments was based on a recommendation from the organization’s medical committee and that it was not possible to reschedule the Women’s Under-18 Championship due to league commitments in Sweden.

“I believe the IIHF is trying to do what it can to make sure that if they are hosting events, they are as safe as possible for each participant,” USA Hockey general manager Pat Kelleher said on Monday. . “However, we have asked that they specifically look at the U-18s and see what they can do to at least postpone it and explore options with the countries involved in this event.”

Kelleher called it a “critical event for the future of women’s hockey” and important to the players and staff involved.

The IIHF’s announcement last week – two days before the start of the World Junior Boys tournament which was unaffected by the cancellations – sparked outrage in the hockey community. US star Kendall Coyne called it unacceptable and tweeted: “Find out how to play it safe at the U18 Worlds this season.”

She is far from being the only one with this feeling. Drake Batherson, an Ottawa Senators NHL forward, saw the outcry on social media and paid close attention because 21-year-old sister Mae plays Division I college hockey in Syracuse.

“Hopefully they can reprogram it,” Batherson said on a video call Monday. “They deserve to play as much as we do. I would like to see this tournament play out. I watch a ton of women’s hockey. I watch the Olympics, the girls’ team, and I watch my sister all the time. They are such great players and they deserve as much as we do to show their skills. “

The Group A, Group B and Division II women’s Under-18 tournaments were also canceled, as were the Group B and Division II men’s under-20 tournaments.

“Difficult situations all around,” Kelleher said. “We certainly hope there will be ways for people to continue looking for solutions to some of these issues down the road.”

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