The 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship will look quite a bit different than what fans are used to, but what exactly do all the changes mean?
Hockey Canada and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF)
made it official on Sept. 17 – all games of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship will be played in
Edmonton, Alta., without fans in attendance.
It was also announced that the World Juniors would return to Alberta in
2022, with Edmonton and Red Deer – the two cities previously announced as
the hosts for 2021 – set to welcome the hockey world for Canada’s holiday
In response to today’s @IIHFHockey announcement, we’re not only grateful to host this year’s #WorldJuniors (@HC_WJC) in Edmonton – albeit without fans – but we’re also excited to bring the Championship back to home ice next year! 🇨🇦
Details at https://t.co/aOOt5dO2K2
— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) September 17, 2020
So what does the change mean for this year’s tournament? For hockey fans?
For ticket holders in Edmonton and Red Deer? For the health and safety of
It’s a lot to unpack, so let’s take a closer look.
Where will the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship be played?
The entirety of the World Juniors – all preliminary-round games,
quarterfinals, semifinals and medal games – will be played in Edmonton,
with no fans in attendance. All games will take place at Rogers Place, with
the Downtown Community Arena serving as the practice facility.
So no games in Red Deer?
Not this year, but the World Juniors will be back in Alberta in 2022 and
Red Deer will co-host alongside Edmonton.
What about pre-tournament games?
Unlike previous years when Canada has hosted, when games would be held in a
handful of communities, all pre-tournament games will be played at Rogers
Place in the lead-up to the World Juniors.
How will the bubble in Edmonton work?
Hockey Canada has worked closely with the IIHF, the National Hockey League,
the Edmonton Oilers, the Oilers Entertainment Group, and local, provincial
and national health authorities to ensure many of the same protocols that
have made the NHL bubble in Edmonton so successful will be in place for the
World Juniors. The plan is still awaiting final approval from the federal
How will nine international teams safely enter Canada?
Three charter flights will deliver the eight teams from Europe, while the
American team will travel directly to Edmonton by bus. These protocols will
ensure minimal contact with Canadians outside of the bubble. Hockey Canada
continues to work with the provincial and federal governments on quarantine
requirements for the teams arriving from outside Canada.
What about testing for COVID-19?
Players and staff from all 10 teams will be tested prior to their departure
for Edmonton, as well as upon their arrival. The current plan is for all
players and staff to be tested on a daily basis while inside the bubble.
I bought tickets for Edmonton and Red Deer. What happens to those?
Fans who purchased tickets for the 2021 World Juniors in both cities can
carry those ticket packages over to 2022. Full refunds are available for
fans who wish to use that option. Ticket holders have been contacted to
either confirm their tickets for 2022 or begin the refund process.
What does the schedule for the 2021 World Juniors look like?
In order to accommodate all games at Rogers Place, the tournament may begin
earlier than its traditional Boxing Day start date. The gold medal game
will be played Jan. 5. Once the IIHF and the competing nations have
approved a game schedule under the new single-venue format, it will be
released to the public. There is no timeline for the schedule to be
What will game presentation look like in Edmonton with no fans in
Hockey Canada is collaborating with its broadcast partners at TSN and RDS
on ways to raise the production value for players in the venue and fans at
home. There is also the potential of using some of the infrastructure used
by the NHL during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Wasn’t the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship going to be hosted in
Hockey Canada and the IIHF worked with the Swedish Ice Hockey Association,
which was set to host the 2022 World Juniors in Gothenburg. Under the
adjusted hosting schedule, Gothenburg will now host in 2024. The 2023 World
Juniors remain scheduled for Novosibirsk, Russia.