After their scheduled matchup for 20 December in Saint Paul, Minnesota was cancelled due to the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, today Hockey Canada announced the final two games of their Rivalry Series against the United States, set to take place in early January in Alberta, have been cancelled as well.
The games, scheduled for 03 January in Edmonton and 06 January in Red Deer, were meant to take place amidst the ongoing World Junior Championship taking place in both cities. However, due to players and staff on Team Canada in COVID protocol, the decision was made to cancel the final two games of the series.
With the cancellations, this year’s series ends at six games, with Canada winning the series four games to two, ironically enough with the road team winning each game. Canada won the first two games in Allentown and Hartford in October, the Americans won the next two games in Kingston and Ottawa in November, and the Canadians won the final two games, both hosted in suburban St. Louis this month.
Unless there are any pre-Olympic exhibition games set to take place either in Canada or China, this will now mean that Canada will carry the IHLC into the Beijing Olympics, opening their tournament on 03 February against Switzerland, starting their attempt to re-take Gold for the first time since 2014, after falling to Team USA in a shootout four years ago in Korea.