Omicron Delays World Junior Hockey, First College Cancels Spectators

It feels like Deja Vu all over again.

Hockey Canada has announced that the pre-tournament schedule for the upcoming 2022 IIHF World Junior Championships has been moved to December 23rd from the previously scheduled December 19th start. A revised schedule has not been issued as of this writing.

Northeastern is the first college to cancel attendance at all athletic events according to “In the past week, we have seen an increase in the number of cases on the Boston campus, primarily in the student population, including some cases of the Omicron variant,” Kenneth Henderson, the university’s chancellor and senior vice president for learning, wrote in a message to the Northeastern community on Friday morning. “While athletic events will proceed as scheduled, beginning this Sunday, December 19, they will do so without spectators in the stands,” he added.

Other schools have been impacted as well. The latest significant news came Saturday morning when, less than 80 minutes before tip time, Memphis announced its game in Nashville vs. No. 18 Tennessee was off due to COVID protocols in Memphis’ program. The news followed the high-profile cancellations of Kentucky vs. Ohio State and North Carolina vs. UCLA in Saturday’s CBS Sports Classic. (Kentucky will now play North Carolina at 5:30 p.m. ET on CBS.) Between cancellations and postponements, nearly 50 games have been impacted in the first six weeks this season.

According to The Wall Street Journal, there are signs the variant is associated with less severe disease than earlier versions of the virus. Scientists caution, though, that severity may vary from place to place depending on factors including levels of immunity and population characteristics, and that even if it isn’t as dangerous, its ease of transmission means Omicron could still cause waves of sickness and death.

Fans will learn of any immediate change on the DU campus with a women’s gymnastics exhibition Sunday afternoon which is still scheduled. Men’s basketball is playing in Hamilton Gym against Western Illinois Monday and St Thomas Wednesday. Hockey is scheduled to play Alaska-Fairbanks on December 31st and January 1st at Magness Arena.

Photo: Courtesy of VangardNews

3 thoughts on “Omicron Delays World Junior Hockey, First College Cancels Spectators”

  1. Dunker was afraid this would happen to the World Juniors. Maybe they play without fans? Canada very strict. Hopefully DU winter sports continue with fans. Interesting to see how the Ivies react.

  2. Alberta (home of the World Juniors this year) is less restrictive than many other Provinces in Canada, so we’ll see.

    What worries me about this Omicron wave is the speed and ease of transmission/infection among the twice-vaccinated, as the effectiveness of the second shot vaccines from sixth months ago are waning and vaccinated people need to be topped-up with a third jab now.

    I am worried that we may lose another season of college sports if infection rates continue to skyrocket as they are…

  3. Just guessing but DU will probably wait until students return in January before restricting attendance. That is, unless Denver County or the state push crowd restrictions before then.

    Looks like Covid/variants will be a way of life going forward. Health experts, government, individuals and businesses will have to navigate a path forward.

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