Hockey Canada says summer, ‘understood scrutiny’ behind World Juniors’ small crowd

Empty seats have been a staple at this month’s extraordinary world children’s hockey championships in Edmonton – and Canadian Hockey said the scandals surrounding the organization are somewhat holding back fans.

Although the tournament typically sees thousands of die-hard hockey fans every game, the average attendance for the tournament’s 20 qualifying matches was 1,319.

Hockey Canada said there are “a few reasons” people have chosen to stay home for the tournament rescheduled for 2022.

“First, the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed this tournament to August,” the organization said in a statement Tuesday. “And second, there’s understandable scrutiny from Canadians about Canadian Hockey and its culture.”

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Criticism of Canadian Hockey abounded when the 10-team tournament began on August 9.

The national sports organization has been criticized in recent months for its handling of sexual assault allegations against members of two former world youth teams.

The allegations prompted congressional requests and the federal government to freeze funding for the organization.

Big name sponsors – including Telus and Canadian Tire – have followed suit, leaving the tape at Rogers Place ad-free and surrounding boards without the usual logos.

“Our focus is on making sure the players who have been training for months can compete on this important stage – and for the fans to have a positive experience,” said Hockey Canada.

Click to play video: 'World Juniors exposed indifference amid scandal, low ticket sales'

World Juniors clearly indifferent amid scandals, low ticket sales

World Juniors clearly indifferent amid scandals, low ticket sales

The first day of the tournament took place three games, none of which broke 1,000 fans. The biggest draw was the match between the US and Germany, where the attendance was recorded at 829.

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Canada played its first game the next day – a 5-2 victory over Latvia – in front of 2,779 men. No attendees were reported for the match between Switzerland and Sweden at 12pm local time on the same day.

Crowds slowly grew as the tournament progressed, with 5,204 crowds watching Canada’s final qualifying match, a 6-3 win over Finland on Monday.

Hockey Canada is one of the organizations likely to lose financially due to disappointing ticket sales.

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“The event stakeholders – (International Ice Hockey Federation), Hockey Canada and participating federations – all contributed financially to ensure the event took place,” Hockey Canada said. .

“The net proceeds from the world juniors are divided among the members of Hockey Canada, Hockey Canada, (Canadian Hockey Federation) and IIHF.”

More than 1,500 tickets were available on Ticketmaster on Tuesday for Wednesday’s quarter-final between Canada and Switzerland.

The 2022 tournament was originally scheduled to be held in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta., in December, but rising COVID-19 cases among players and officials forced games to be cancelled. after only four days.

© 2022 Canadian Press

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