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Archive for January 10, 2022

BULLETIN: Jan. 10, 2022 — The FIH Indoor World Cup, cancelled

The latest collateral damage emanating from the spread of the Omicron variant of Coronavirus is that next month’s Indoor World Cup, scheduled for Liege, Belgium, has been cancelled.

This Indoor World Cup’s cancellation has to be a downer for North American field hockey fans because the American men and women had qualified for both competitions. The women qualified on the strong offensive showing of Hope Rose and Ashley Sessa and the defense of Ali Campbell and Rayne Wright. The men qualified as the silver medalists because New Zealand and Australia withdrew.

Indeed, it might have been an interesting competition had the American sides been allowed to compete, especially the women’s side. I think the Americans could have pulled an upset or two, given the devil-may-care playing style on the attack end, and the pitch generalship on defense.

The problem for the organizers is that the tournament was heading into one of the worst per-capita countries for Covid-19 in the world. Belgium’s per-million average for positive tests is slightly more than 191,000, which is worse than the United States. More than 28,000 Belgians have died during the pandemic.

“Considering all indoor hockey athletes and fans, it was extremely hard to cancel the 2022 edition planned in just a few weeks,” said FIH president Thierry Weil. “But, of course, we have followed the recommendations of the local authorities.”

At the same time, FIH has rescheduled the 2021 Junior World Cup in South Africa to take place in April. This comes at an interesting time for members of the U.S. team, many of whom will be taking place in collegiate spring hockey during the tournament window.