With no Boston Bruins games going on, the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship was going to provide at least enough hockey to last us through the pause on the Bruins’ season, including watch Bruins prospect Fabian Lysell play for Sweden.
At least we thought.
Not even halfway through the tournament, the IIHF decided to cancel the rest of the 2022 tournament due to an increase in ongoing COVID cases.
Four players had tested positive, resulting in three forfeits before the organization decided to hit the cancel button. As a result, Bruins fans never even got to watch Lysell play on the international stage.
Lysell missed Sweden’s two games with an injury before the cancellation
The Bruins 2022 first-round pick was set to be the only representative in the tournament from Boston. Selected to Sweden to play in his first World Juniors, Lysell was expected to have a top-six role on a Sweden team many thought could give Canada a run for the gold medal.
But right before Sweden’s first game against Russia on Dec. 26, the Sweden lineup was without Lysell. It was a bit of a head scratcher considering Lysell’s expected role and no news had come out previously that would have indicated he was going to miss the game. He had skated with the team in their exhibition game prior to the official start of the tournament.
It was later reported that the Swedish forward was dealing with an injury/illness. It kept him out of the Russia game and despite earlier speculation he’d be ready for the Dec. 27 matchup with Slovakia, he didn’t dress for that game either.
So the shortened 2022 World Junior Championship finished with zero games played by Bruins prospects. Not through any fault of their own, Lysell likely would have re-joined the team at some point, but he didn’t get the chance to.
Some good news though – not only is the 18-year-old will be eligible for the 2023 tournament, the IIHF has discussed making up the 2022 tournament at some point in June or July. Lysell would likely get to play in that, obviously if he is healthy.
The cancellation is an extremely disappointing result for not just Lysell, but all of these teenagers playing on what was the biggest stage of their careers so far. Hopefully something can be worked out so that this tournament can get going again.