2022 U-18 Women’s World Championships Rescheduled for June

Photo credits: Petr David Josek / AP

The IIHF U-18 Women’s World Championship tournament, previously cancelled in late 2021, is now rescheduled for June of 2022.[1] The cancellation of the tournament in December of 2021 sparked outrage from many members of the women’s hockey community, especially considering the men’s IIHF world junior tournament was already in progress. Kendall Coyne Schofield, a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team, took to Twitter to express her thoughts on the cancellation stating, “[t]he IIHF has prioritized & held top division men’s events during the pandemic but the top division women’s events – cancelled- again. UNACCEPTABLE. Figure out how to safely play the U18 Worlds this season, just like the U18 men & #WorldJuniors. These players DESERVE to play too.”[2] Erin Ambrose, a Canadian national team member questioned the automatic cancellation, stating “[w]hy is it automatically a cancellation? We understand the concerns regarding health and safety but why is a postponement not considered for these women as the men’s tournaments continue without hesitation?”[3] Much of the outrage centered around the fact that the men’s tournament continued on even after the decision was made to cancel the women’s tournament. It is important to note the IIHF subsequently postponed the men’s world junior tournament after four days of play due to the rise in COVID-19 cases. This tournament is now rescheduled for August in Edmonton and Red Deer. 

The rescheduling of the women’s tournament is a victory for the 86,331 supporters who signed a petition created by Lori Bolliger.[4] In the petition, Bolliger states, “[t]he U18 Women’s Championship was not postponed until “safety” could be guaranteed- rather it was outright cancelled with no reschedule date… for the second year in a row. This is a failure of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) to recognize and support women in sport and sends a message that women’s hockey matters less.”[5] Two weeks ago, Bolliger posted a petition update sharing the news regarding the rescheduling for June of 2022.[6]  Bolliger expressed hope for continued equity in the future, stating “[g]oing forward, we hope the IIHF will continue to prioritize both men’s and women’s tournaments equally and endeavor to seek solutions that will always allow for rescheduling over canceling, and treat all tournaments with the same honor and respect every single player deserves.”[7] The tournament will take place in the United States, but a specific location has yet to be announced. 

This, along with the recent Women’s Soccer National Team victory discussed here, are most certainly steps in the right direction in terms of creating and promoting equity in men’s and women’s sports. Both of these examples demonstrate how continuing to speak out and bring attention to ongoing inequities in the sports world can promote change. It is important for women, both athletes and not, to utilize their platforms to ensure these inequities do not continue for the future generations of female athletes. 

[1] 2022 IIHF Women’s World U18 Championship Rescheduled for June in U.S., The Athletic, (Feb. 17, 2022), https://theathletic.com/news/2022-iihf-womens-world-u18-championship-rescheduled-for-june-in-us/Lo2INBONwZfX/

[2] Kendall Coyne Schofield, Twitter, (Dec. 24, 2021 9:39 AM) https://twitter.com/KendallCoyne/status/1474389262988713987

[3] Emily Kaplan, IIHF Canceling January Event, Including U18 Women’s World Championships, ESPN, (Dec. 23, 2021), https://www.espn.com/olympics/hockey/story/_/id/32931388/iihf-canceling-january-events-including-u18-women-world-championships-sources-say

[4] https://www.change.org/p/let-the-puck-drop-at-women-s-u18-world-hockey-championships

[5] Id.

[6] https://www.change.org/p/let-the-puck-drop-at-women-s-u18-world-hockey-championships/u/30228895

[7] Id. 

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