The Covid-19 virus keeps affecting the world of sports. Although for a moment it felt like KHL isn’t affected because they play hide and pretend – now it seems that it might be getting real for the league. On Tuesday league announced the postponement of 2021 All-Star Week which was supposed to be hosted by Latvian Capital – Riga.
2021 was supposed to be a huge year for hockey in Latvia, hosting the All-Star weekend for the 2nd time in eight years as well as co-hosting of the IIHF World Championships. With one event being moved for a year and the other one being questioned by local authorities it’s now turning a little darker than expected.
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The Latvian capital was announced as the host for the All-Star week on January 17th. The week of festivities was supposed to start on January 16th with Woman’s All-Star game as well as a showcase of Russian MHL’s junior players. The All-Star skills competition was supposed to get underway on Saturday, January 23rd with the All-Star game following the next day.
The following is a statement from Alexei Morozov – President of the KHL:
“This is a really tough decision. For the first time in its 13-year history, KHL fans will miss out on this show, which brings together our top players and – since 2016 – has celebrated the best of three leagues. Unfortunately, right now we cannot predict how the coronavirus situation will be in January 2021 and we have a responsibility not to endanger the health of our players and supporters.
“The KHL has no interest in staging this event behind closed doors – that idea has no merit. Those fans and players who travel to the All-Star Week from so many different countries are the real stars of the occasion – they create that unique festive atmosphere in the arena. I don’t believe that staging the event with restrictions on the number of spectators would be a success. Only a sell-out crowd makes this event what it has always been – the biggest show in the KHL season.
“As a result of all this the league, in discussion with the organizing committee in Riga, decided to cancel the 2021 All-Star Week. We will definitely return and put on the full show that we planned in January of the following year. Believe me, a lot of work has already gone into this. We will celebrate together in January 2022.”
Although the statement doesn’t necessarily say that Riga will get to host in 2022, a spokesperson for Dinamo Riga confirmed that they will retain the rights to host the event the following year.