MFM-2022 in hockey in August: why it was postponed, who will replace the Russian team, why there are a lot of refuseniks
August this year is not only the Glinka Memorial (it starts on July 31), but also the World Youth Championship, which will begin in Edmonton on August 9. It’s time to recall why it turned out that the main New Year’s tournament will be played at the height of summer, and what will happen there.
Why was MFM postponed
MFM-2022 began, as always, on December 26, but did not even live up to the New Year. The thing is that the championship was held in Canada, where there are very strict anti-COVID rules, but the organizers could not provide the proper level of security.
Omicron’s offensive on the planet took the organizers by surprise, who expected to hold a full-fledged tournament with full stands of fans and without the “bubbles” that bothered everyone.
The teams settled in the same hotel, where ordinary guests also lived, and even held weddings. The virus spread incredibly quickly, and even with a single positive test, the teams were given technical defeats. They canceled one match, another, a third, and when it became obvious to everyone that it could not continue like this, the IIHF decided to end the championship ahead of schedule and play it again in the summer.
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Where is the Russian team?
For the first time in history, Russia will miss the MFM. As, in fact, I already missed the adult and junior world championships. The IIHF cut off our teams from international hockey for an indefinite period – many European federations advocated such measures.
It hurts the most for the MFM, more precisely, for the guys born in 2002, for whom this was the last chance to play at this level. First they lost the YJWCH due to the pandemic, and now this. “I think more about the year of birth 2002, which got into such a situation. And they didn’t have the YJCHM, and the MFM. If the MFM is also taken away from them now, I don’t even know what feelings they will have when their career comes to an end. It turns out that they did not have such time, ”said 18-year-old striker Danila Yurov.
At the MFM-2023, which will begin in December in Halifax and Moncton, Canada, Russia will not be there either.
Where will the MFM-2022 be held, who will play
The World Championship will be hosted by Edmonton from 9 to 20 August. All players who passed by age for the December MFM-2022 are allowed to participate. This will be a new full-fledged tournament – the results of the winter matches have been canceled, all games will be played again.
Instead of the Russian team, Latvia will play, which took second place at the MFM-2022 in division 1A. Belarus became the winner of this group, but it was also disqualified, like Russia. The last time the Latvians played in the elite division was in 2017, losing all six matches (four in the group, two in the elimination games).
For August, the composition of the groups was also shuffled. Canada, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Latvia will play in Group A. Group B includes USA, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
The group round will end on the night of August 16 Moscow time, the quarter-finals will be held on August 17 (end on the night of August 18 Moscow time), the semi-finals will end on the night of August 20 Moscow time, the bronze match and the final will take place on the night of August 21 Moscow time.
August is not the most convenient time for holding the MFM, the guys are forced to choose whether to prepare for the start of the training camp in the NHL or play for the national team. Many top prospects refuse.
One of the teams most affected by this schedule was Slovakia, where hockey is experiencing a huge upsurge. Juraj Słafkowski and Szymon Nemec helped Slovakia win their first Olympic medal in February, and in early July they made history once again, becoming the first and second picks in the NHL Draft.
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Two stars of the new generation of Slovak hockey players will miss the MFM, Philip Meshar, drafted by Montreal, and a number of other players (Khromyak, Knyazhko, Stakha) will not play either. “I will leave for Montreal in early August and prepare for the season. August is a bad time for the MFM, you can get injured,” Slafkowski explained.
Photo: Mario Hommes/Getty Images
There will be gaps in other teams. One of the main stars of the Swedish national team, William Eklund, refused to participate, as he hopes to break into the basis of San Jose. “It will be better for my development, but it is a difficult decision. Sucks,” said Eklund. It is expected that Lucas Raymond and Alexander Holz will not be there either, they will also be preparing for the NHL season.
The Czech national team has been turned down by a number of players, including goaltenders Nick Malik and Jakub Malek, Canada has definitely been turned down by St. Louis prospect Jack Neighbors, and so on.
The IIHF could not avoid failures, because there was simply no other time for the MFM. In the spring – the playoffs in the clubs, June-July – the draft and time for a little rest, and in the fall the new season begins. On the other hand, at the usual time, not everyone who passes by age also comes to the MFM. The same Slafkowski can hardly be expected in the winter, by that time he should already be playing with might and main for Montreal.