The pandemic will not allow the tournament to be held in 2021
Every April, the Olympic city of Sochi is host to the largest international youth hockey tournament in the world — the Gazprom Neft Cup. Last year we were forced to cancel this — already completely organised! — tournament due to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. We had hoped we would be able to hold the event in spring 2021, but it’s quite clear the pandemic still isn’t going to let us do that. In order that more than 30 teams, from various countries, could fight it out for the most important trophy in youth hockey, we had to start proactive preparations for the tournament — booking hotels and air tickets — as early as last autumn. But it was at precisely that point that the “second wave” happened: and with it, quarantine restrictions were tightened, all over the world. And even now, the epidemiological situation has still not returned to normal — not in Russia, nor anywhere else in the world: meaning a significant number of international flights have not yet been reinstated. In this environment, making preparations for — and certainly holding such a major youth tournament, safely — just isn’t possible. Hopefully the vaccination drive in Russia and other countries worldwide will turn the tide here, and we’ll be able to see one another once again, in the stands in Sochi in 2022!