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Olds native may have second shot at World Juniors

The top hockey tournament in the world for U-20 players, held in Red Deer and Edmonton, was cancelled last week, due to COVID concerns
MVT Canada vs Czechia Seely skate
Team Canada player Ronan Seeley tries to block a move by a Czechia player during Canada's Dec. 26 game at the World Juniors. Photo courtesy of IIHF

OLDS — There’s a faint light at the end of the tunnel for Olds product Ronan Seeley after the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) cancelled the remainder of the 2022 World Junior Hockey Championship (WJC) last Wednesday. 

The tournament might be replayed – or finished off – this spring or summer,  IIHF president Luc Tardif said. 

IIHF officials planned to discuss that possibility as soon as later this month, he said. 

“We don’t want to give up, the young players deserve that. We will take the next month to think about this and maybe we can come with a good surprise,” Tardif said during a news conference.  

The top hockey tournament in the world for male players under 20 years of age, held in Red Deer and Edmonton, began Boxing Day and was scheduled to end on Jan. 5 with the gold medal game. 

That tournament is the peak of some players’ careers, while for others it’s a fantastic chance to audition for the NHL draft.  

In Seeley’s case, he’s 19. The IIHF said if the tournament is restarted or replayed this year, they would waive that age restriction to allow players who turned 20 by then to still participate.  

Seeley was doing well in the tournament. He picked up two assists in Canada’s 11-2 thrashing of Austria and logged some significant ice time in that game. 

The left-shooting defenceman is a co-captain of the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League and played minor hockey in Olds before going on to play midget AAA hockey in Red Deer and Lethbridge. 

He was picked by the Carolina Hurricanes in the seventh round of the 2020 NHL draft (208th) and signed a three-year entry-level contract with the ‘Canes last September. 

The tournament was cancelled after two more teams were forced to forfeit their games due to COVID –19. 

The Czechia-Finland match was cancelled after one of its players tested positive. The same happened with a Russia –Slovakia game. 

On Tuesday, the U.S. team forfeited its game versus Switzerland for the same reason.