By Cole Parkinson
Sunny South News
Having the World Juniors in August is very weird, let’s be honest. It doesn’t have the same feel as the usual after-Christmas vibe, but the fact these kids get the chance to put on their country’s uniform and compete is special, regardless of when it happens.
This tournament also feels a little different considering the sexual harassment and abuse claims that are rightfully being discussed. The whole thing has been a terrible look for Hockey Canada and hopefully, justice is served. And it must be a bit discouraging for the players currently competing at the tournament as there is plenty of turmoil surrounding the organization. Fans are still in the stands for the games, but I’m sure some have a bad taste in their mouths after hearing about what’s been happening — and that’s understandable. The details from 2018 are incredibly hard to read and I wouldn’t fault anyone for not wanting to spend their money that goes to Hockey Canada.
But like I mentioned before, these players have to feel incredibly excited to actually get this tournament in after it was cancelled back in January. But it sure doesn’t look like the building will be full for any of the round-robin games. Tickets are still available for each Team Canada game, and on top of the other issues, ticket prices aren’t exactly cheap. Tickets run for around $140 for the Canadian games and people aren’t rushing out in the middle of August to go sit in the stands to watch the games. This once again speaks against Hockey Canada. Why not make these tickets more affordable so people actually want to go watch?
If they were $40 or $50, I bet there’d be a lot more people in the stands — there still may not be sold out, but at least there would be people actually watching the games in person. There’s really no excusable reason for them to charge that price for a tournament in mid-August other than greed. Hockey Canada has burned most of their goodwill over the last several months and the executive board has once again done everything in their power to make sure they get no good press.
So, while I’ll tune in for a handful of the games on TV, it’s still not the highest priority as it would be during the Christmas break. It’s just an awkward time to host any hockey tournament, but with Junior camps starting very soon, it’s pretty much the only time they could have held it, unless they just cancelled it outright. But with money on the line and a timeline that worked in August, that wasn’t going to happen.