Women’s Hockey in Canada in 2021
January 16, 2021

Last year was a challenging year for most sports – but for a sport that reaches its apex (meaning most important and most profitable) on the international stage, it was particularly hard. However, we should look towards 2021 with optimism and the chance for women’s hockey to eventually return as strong as ever.

"Powergirls" by Berend Stettler is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

First off, the IIHF World Championships are currently on the schedule for 2021. If you want to bet on  Team Canada on most Vegas sports betting sites, you can find odds on them in the IIHF section of their sportsbooks.

Tournament Details and Changes from 2020 to 2021 

2020 IIHF Women’s World Championship (Top Division)

2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship (Top Division)

Outside of moving the start date ahead by about a week, the plans for the 2021 tournament remain similar to last year (same countries and groups). What we do not know yet is whether this will take place with any fans and if fans will attend from other countries.

The Maritimes Provinces have dealt with the pandemic better than anywhere in Canada. Of course, they did this by limiting travellers (not just international travellers, but people from other provinces) and many restrictions.

The lower-level IIHF Women’s Championships are not yet on the schedule. While Canada has never played in a level below the top division, who Canada could face in 2022 (due to relegation and promotion) is affected.

"Dispute" by Berend Stettler is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Canada at the 2022 Winter Olympics

What is not affected by the cancellation of the 2020 tournament is Canada’s place at the 2022 Winter Olympics. The committee used the seeding for the tournament instead of the final results to determine six qualifiers for the 2022 games. The United States, Finland, Russia*, Switzerland, and Japan join Canada at the 2022 games. China automatically qualified as they are the host nation.

*The World Anti-Doping Agency banned Russia from international sports until December 2023. The Russian Women’s Hockey Team and any other athletes allowed at international events will compete under a neutral flag.

Challenges for Female Hockey Players in 2021 and 2022

However, even if the Olympics are over a year away, the Canadian Women’s Hockey Team faces plenty of challenges. The loss of the CWHL in 2019 has left a void in competitive hockey in North America.

A new league – the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association – started in 2019 but did not finish its first season. It is currently working on five hubs to play in 2021, but it is struggling. The NWHL – another competitive women’s hockey league – has a hub set up with six teams – but will only play a five-game season before the playoffs.

Will the lack of competitive women’s hockey in North America for a year hinder Canada’s team? It could, especially since Canada had its worst showing at the IIHF Championship in 2019 – suggesting competition is growing.

All we can hope for right now is for the 2021 tournament to happen and Canadian women hockey players all over to get a chance to play in 2021.

This page is maintained by © 2021 Andria Hunter (andria@whockey.com).

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