The remainder of the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship has been cancelled, the IIHF announced on Wednesday, citing a recommendation from the COVID-19 Medical Group and the IIHF Medical Committee.

The cancellation comes after a number of positive cases of COVID-19 among the 10 teams in the tournament, which was being held in Red Deer, Alta. and Edmonton. Two games - Russia versus Slovakia and Finland versus Czechia - were forfeited on Wednesday due to COVID-19, making it three games forfeited in two days. On top of health and safety concerns, with the third cancellation, the IIHF determined "the sportive integrity of the event ha[d] been compromised" and the remainder of the tournament must be cancelled.

“Together with the teams, we came into this event with full confidence in the COVID-19 protocols put in place by the IIHF, the LOC, Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services and the Public Health Agency of Canada,” IIHF president Luc Tardif said in a statement. “The ongoing spread of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant forced us to readjust our protocols almost immediately upon arrival to attempt to stay ahead of any potential spread. This included daily testing and the team quarantine requirement when positive cases were confirmed.”

Tardif says there was no other way to continue.

“We owed it to the participating teams to do our best to create the conditions necessary for this event to work,” Tardif said. “Unfortunately, this was not enough. We now have to take some time and focus on getting all players and team staff back home safely.”

Hockey Canada president Scott Smith and CEO Tom Renney echoed the disappointment in their statement released later on Wednesday.

“Hockey Canada has worked tirelessly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure it would be equipped to host world-class, international events in a safe and healthy environment," the statement read. "Despite our best efforts, and continually adapting and strengthening protocols, we have unfortunately fallen short of our goal of completing the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship and handing out medals on Jan. 5 due to the challenges of the current COVID-19 landscape.

"Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have always made the health and safety of event participants and the community at large a priority, and given the news that we have encountered positive cases within the World Juniors environment, we understand and support the decision to cancel the remainder of the event. Although we know this is the right decision, we sympathize with all participants who have earned the opportunity to represent their countries on the world stage and that will not be able to realize that dream in its entirety.”