Slovakian goalie tears up IIHF for ‘terrible’ World Juniors’ organization

Slovakian goaltender Šimon Latkóczy quickly became one of the stories to watch during the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton and Red Deer.

Latkóczy made 63 saves on 68 shots in the tournament in two games in two narrow losses to Sweden and the United States.

But after the announcement of the tournament’s cancellation, there was little more than frustration for the 19-year-old.

Latkóczy, an undrafted prospect who plays for the USHL Madison Capitals, snatched the IIHF in a series of Instagram posts, as one of the first players to speak out on the cancellation.

“It continues on the IIHF. They completely underestimated this tournament, ”said Latkóczy. “The organization from day one was terrible. I felt like I was participating in a youth grassroots hockey tournament… they decided to end this tournament as if it were pointless couple matches for some random guys who spent the holidays in Canada.

The tournament was called off after three lost matches, including Slovakia winning a 1-0 victory over Russia. A single positive test on a match day was enough to result in a forfeit.

“We give all we can to hockey every day, even taking the biggest vacations without our families. And I can tell you one thing. It’s difficult. I came here and tried to do my best and this is how it is done? Latkóczy added.

Latkóczy was also playing last year’s tournament which was held in a more secure bubble environment in Edmonton, with no fans.

Latkóczy said last year’s protocols were “crazy … but it worked,” adding that all the workers involved were in the bubble for the duration of the tournament.

This year, the Slovakia team was in a hotel in Red Deer as part of Pool B.

But the same safety precautions were not taken, with Latkóczy documenting that the players were in frequent contact with the general public, which could have contributed to the positive tests.

“We were in contact with people who weren’t in the tournament all the time,” added Latkóczy. “The people who worked at the hotel or the waitresses who worked for us came home every night. While everyone has been tested every day, we know that positive cases don’t have to happen right after coming into contact with someone. So how does this make sense? “

Latkoczky also confirmed reports of a wedding reception taking place at the tournament hotel on Wednesday.

“The funniest thing is that there was a wedding in our hotel today. What a joke, ”he said.

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