Hockey Canada will not participate in the annual World Junior Summer Showcase hosted by USA Hockey this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
John Vanbiesbrouck, USA Hockey assistant executive director of hockey operations and the general manager of the United States National Junior Team, confirmed the news in an interview with NHL.com, adding that the event remains on the calendar with teams from the U.S., Sweden and Finland.
“We’ve heard from Canada and they will not be able to come, but we’re checking in every two weeks with Sweden and Finland,” Vanbiesbrouck said. “Obviously things are different in Sweden than they are in Finland. There’s also the whole restriction part on international travel which looks like it’s going to be lifted sometime in June, so we’re just staying on top of everything from what’s going on newsworthy to bringing it back internally. That’s how we’re going to go. We’re not going to change anything.”
The event, which is currently scheduled from July 24 to Aug. 1 in Plymouth, Mich., is the first chance for players to showcase themselves to the people who will pick the rosters for the world junior tournament in December. Hockey Canada announced on March 13 that it would be suspending all national team activities until further notice.
Vanbiesbrouck added that USA Hockey will be holding out hope that the event can go on as scheduled for as long as possible as it is one of the few opportunities out there to hold an evaluation camp before the Christmas tournament.
“We’re trying to keep our dates in place, which is a moving target,” Vanbiesbrouck said. “For the World Junior Summer Showcase, we’re likely going to keep those dates in place unless we find out that we’re not allowed to have [the event] based on the ordinances that we have to deal with. Our goal is to have this camp because, after that, it’s a no-camp process, really.”
The 2021 World Junior Hockey Championships are currently scheduled for Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta.