Antti Pennanen, the head coach of Finland's team at this year's World Juniors, is not at all happy with the International Ice Hockey Federation, and he's making his feelings very clear. In an interview with Ilta-Sanomat
, Pennanen insisted the tournament was derailed due to poor planning, not COVID-19.
"I am very sad and angry about this decision. Above all, I am sad for the players and the rest of the management team. Especially for the players born in 2002, because they also missed the Under-18 World Championships earlier," said Pennanen.
"I am angry because this was not a COVID problem, but a problem of poor management."
Pennanen pointed to the fact that at last year's tournament, a positive test meant that the person who tested positive had to isolate. However, somewhere along the lines, that was changed to the entire team needing to isolate with one positive test.
"There should have been an NHL protocol here, where only the infected are quarantined, not the whole team. That's why games had to be cancelled. It should have been handled in such a way that those who are positive are sidelined and the rest are allowed to continue playing," Pennanen said.
"This tournament should have been organised and run properly as an event. It should have been the same as last year, when, for example, the German team had many positive tests, but still played short-handed," he continued.
Many have brought up the fact that players in this year's tournament were not bubbled like last year. People not involved in the World Juniors were staying at the same hotels as players, and events like weddings were still taking place. This didn't happen in 2020.
"This says a lot about the state of the IIHF," said Pennanen. "I am very disappointed. Here are the best players and the best conditions in the world. Several million TV viewers watch a tournament for which there is enormous respect, but as an event this was badly run. When we tried to help, we were not listened to. It's incomprehensible."