Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill is a passionate supporter of USA Hockey, for whom he’s served as a coach several times, and he spoke about the cancellation of the 2022 World Junior Championship today, as noted by MLive’s Ansar Khan:
“I had a chance to talk to the (U.S.) World Junior team before the tournament and like a lot of people I was really excited to see this group,” Blashill said. “It’s honestly devastating. I was crushed to see it. It’s been a really hard couple years for a lot of people. These are these young people’s dreams. These are huge moments. I’ve had a chance to coach in the World Juniors.”
The United States, Czechia and Russia each had to forfeit a preliminary-round game after players tested positive for COVID-19.
The Red Wings had eight prospects from their past two drafts participating – forwards Carter Mazur and Red Savage of the U.S., defenseman and top 2021 pick Simon Edvinsson and center Theodor Niederbach of Sweden, goaltender Sebastian Cossa and defenseman Donovan Sebrango of Canada, defenseman Eemil Viro of Finland and goalie Jan Bednar of Czechia.
“This World Junior group, the older guys on the team, if you go back to the start of this pandemic, they had their World Under-18s canceled (scheduled for Plymouth in April 2020),” Blashill said. “I know how much work goes into it, how much passion is involved. For it to just end on a drop of a dime is just crushing for everybody involved.
“It’s a great tournament and a great opportunity to showcase for the upcoming NHL draft. There’s tons of scouts out there that all the sudden don’t get to have those looks that they depend on to a large degree. Everybody is equal, we’re all going to adjust. I understand perspective. There are worse things in the world, I get that for sure. But when you’re talking about dreams of young people, it’s crushing. I think life is about experiences. They don’t get to have that experience. I feel terrible for them.”
Continued; TSN’s Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie reported that 5 more players tested positive today, which was confirmed by the IIHF, and that really sucks. Here’s hoping that everyone who’s been affected by COVID gets well soon, and that the players get to go home ASAP.