Hockey Championship's Location Changed

Jonathan Roman

January 21, 2021

The International Ice Hockey federation declared the 2021 world championship will not be hosted in Minsk due to COVID safety concerns.

Recently, the International Ice Hockey Federation’s (IIHF) governing body made the decision to cancel the hockey championship after consulting with stakeholders and experts. Last year, the IIHC was forced to cancel the 2020 tournament in Switzerland, due to COVID-19 concerns. The cancelation caused the IIHF to lose a significant amount of money, which made the decision to cancel the tournament in Minsk this year arduous. Initially, the Men’s Hockey Tournament was scheduled to be in Minsk, Belarus, and Riga, Estonia between, May 21st and June 6th. The federation’s decision is based on the recent political state of Belarus, where president Lukashenko has not yet resigned after accusations of rigging the election and suppressing protests, as well as concerns relating to the country's lax views on Covid-19. A statement from the IIHF council concluded that, “It is currently impossible to ensure the welfare of teams, spectators and officials while holding a World Championship in Belarus (BBC News).” Although President Lukashenko has said that the tournament would be hosted safely, it is unlikely that the council will change its mind. The cancellation of the tournament in Minsk has put many competing countries in confusion as they're waiting for when the tournament will be rescheduled. However, in much of Europe, Hockey programs have been limited, especially in England. It is speculated that the tournament will likely be in Germany, where people have been able to play safely even during the Covid-19 pandemic. Germany demonstrated their standards by competing in an Ice Hockey tournament with Canada where many safety measures were used which prevented the spread of Covid-19 from their tournament. It is uncertain if the future of 2021’s Ice Hockey World Championship will be taking place as global Covid-19 rates are spiking rapidly across the world.