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2022 World Junior Championship Won't Have Relegation; 11 Teams to Play in 2023

The IIHF has announced that the 2022 World Junior Championship will not feature relegation for the second straight year, but the 2023 tournament will expand to 11 teams.

For the first time in tournament history, the 2023 World Junior Championship will have 11 teams after the IIHF announced that this year's iteration in Canada will not have relegation. 

The move was made due to COVID-19 concerns. The IIHF announced that Austria, one of the teams expected to fight in the relegation round, is in quarantine due to a positive COVID-19 case prior to the start of the tournament.

The 2021 tournament also didn't feature relegation, but no team was promoted up.

Belarus, who won the 2022 Division IA World Junior Championship, earned promotion for 2023 and will serve as the 11th team in Russia. The tournament format has not been released yet, other than the aim is to have 10 teams back in 2024 in Sweden. 

Per the IIHF release, "the task of creating an 11-team format and game schedule has been given to the IIHF Competition Committee same as the task of restructuring the lower divisions for the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship program."

The number of teams presents a logistical challenge that could be fixed by adding a 12th team and having three groups of four like at the Winter Olympic Games. Latvia came second at the Division IA tournament earlier this month.



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