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World juniors hard to sell to Edmonton hockey fans

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Some of the world’s top male teen hockey players face each other in Edmonton in just days, but the city’s second attempt at hosting the world’s juniors in eight months is proving to be a tough sell.

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Gone is the usual holiday hype for Team Canada, along with concerns about who made the team and its gold medal chances.
Instead, there is an apparent apathy for the action on the ice.

Tickets for all games, including the August 20th Gold Medal Decider, are readily available on both official and resale sites.

A list of reasons for the disappointing build-up to what is normally a near-national holiday begins with the unfolding Hockey Canada scandal that puts a damper on the tournament.

The organization admitted to paying millions of dollars to settle sexual abuse lawsuits through a special fund built through player registration fees.

Hockey Canada board chair resigns

Criminal investigations have been renewed into allegations of gang assault involving members of Team Canada during the 2003 and 2018 tournaments.Hockey Canada’s chairman of the board, Michael BrindAmour, told the board that he would resign immediately, Hockey Canada said in a statement Saturday.

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It’s hard to see. It’s pretty sad, Team Canada captain Mason McTavish said of the recent revelations.

It’s really serious business right now.

Serious enough that many might reconsider the typical automatic patriotism that the tournament encourages.

That’s their right, Team Canada coach Dave Cameron said when asked if fans should stay away.

Edmonton Oil Kings captain Jake Neighbors (21) raises the Ed Chynoweth Cup after beating the Seattle Thunderbirds 2-0 to win the Western Hockey League Championship series on Monday, June 13, 2022 in Edmonton.
Edmonton Oil Kings captain Jake Neighbors (21) raises the Ed Chynoweth Cup after beating the Seattle Thunderbirds 2-0 to win the Western Hockey League Championship series on Monday, June 13, 2022 in Edmonton. Photo by Greg Southam /post media

The August tournament is a reboot of the event originally scheduled for Edmonton and Red Deer in the usual December and January time frame. But the tournament was halted amid COVID-19 outbreaks involving multiple teams, forcing three matches to be forfeited.

The rematch will also lack the star power of the original event, with many prospects focusing on the upcoming National Hockey League season rather than the risk of injury.

That includes Edmonton Oil Kings captain Jake Neighbors, as well as local produce Dylan Guenther and Team Canada captain Kaiden Guhle.

Traditional rival Russia had his team banned from the event after the invasion of Ukraine.

Interested or not, the tournament kicks off on August 9 at noon with the Czech Republic versus Slovakia.

with files from The Canadian Press

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