Tardif says IIHF “financially still alive” despite COVID-19 and war in Ukraine

President Luc Tardif has insisted that the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) is “financially still alive”, despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

Speaking prior to the medal matches at the men’s IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton, French official Tardif acknowledged that the organisation had faced recent challenges, but insisted it remained in a position to continue staging events.

Tardif did concede that “sometimes it’s good to have a good insurance”.

“We are financially still alive and what is important is to keep our activities alive,” Tardif said.

“We sometimes played in a bubble because of COVID, we have to play without Russia because of the war and we cannot do anything about it.

“When there’s a pandemic and a war many things change, teams cannot travel that easily.”

IIHF regional vice-president Henrik Bach Nielsen, who chaired the 2022 World Junior Championship Directorate, argued that the organisation had adapted during the pandemic, but admitted it had an impact on the development of the sport.

“We are financially in good shape,” Bach Nielsen said.

“We lost some income but we also spent less money.

“But more important is that we lost some development in hockey because of the pandemic.”

IIHF regional vice-president Henrik Bach Nielsen said that moving the World Junior Championship to August was a “one-time experience” ©Getty Images

Low attendances at the World Junior Championship were blamed on the tournament being moved to August, after it was cancelled mid-event in December last year due to a series of COVID-19 outbreaks.

Tardif said that the World Championship would return to its usual slot of late December and early January from next year.

“We are happy with the quality and involvement of the teams, for which it was not so easy to come here,” the IIHF President commented.

“We knew that August is not the best time.

“We didn’t expect the attendance that we usually have.

“It was an experience and we won’t do it again unless we have to for some reason.

“I want to look forward rather than backward. 

“What is important is that the ticket sale is going well for [the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship in] Halifax and Moncton.”

IIHF President Luc Tardif referenced a ban on Russia from its competitions due to the war in Ukraine as something which is having a financial impact ©Getty Images

Bach Nielsen concurred, insisting that the move to August is a one-off measure.

“August is not a hockey month but it was the only possible date,” he said.

“Especially for Canadians, the World Juniors is a Christmas thing and I’m happy to go back to the normal schedule in Halifax and Moncton in winter.

“The World Juniors is a very good brand.

“It has been a success during the Christmas holidays for many years.

“This is a one-time experience that we had to do it in August.”

Hosts Canada won the World Junior Championship in Edmonton, beating Finland 3-2 in overtime in the final.