(Derek Leung/Getty Images)

The International Ice Hockey Federation has canceled all tournaments scheduled for January 2022, marking the second year in a row that the U18 Women’s World Championships have been canceled.

In a statement, the IIHF called the U18 Women’s World Championship “an important part of strengthening and building ice hockey on the girls’ and women’s side.”

Increased concerns over coronavirus have led to the cancellation of the tournament.

“It is the consensus of the IIHF Medical Committee that the organizers would not have the capability to manage an outbreak of the virus, especially with the rapid transfer of the Omicron variant that we have seen in the NHL and other leagues,” said IIHF president Luc Tardif.

Meanwhile, the 2021 U18 Men’s World Championships were held in Texas and the IIHF still plans to hold the 2022 U18 men’s event, which is scheduled for April in Germany. The U20 Men’s World Junior Championships has also still gone on in each of the past two seasons, including the 2022 tournament, which is underway in Edmonton, Alberta.

There is no equivalent of the U20 tournament for women.

Many players have been outspoken about the cancellation, calling out the IIHF for seeming to prioritize the men’s tournaments over the women’s.

“UNACCEPTABLE,” tweeted Olympic gold medalist Kendall Coyne Schofield. “Figure out how to safely play the U18 Worlds this season, just like the U18 men & World Juniors. These players DESERVE to play too.”

Meghan Duggan, a 2018 Olympic gold medalist, called the decision “beyond disappointing.”

“The IIHF has continually prioritized top men’s events during the pandemic but the u18 women’s event is cancelled – AGAIN. The u18 women’s tournament must be safely played this season, just like the U18 men & World Juniors. They deserve it.”

Kelly Pannek echoed those comments, saying “it’s far too easy for the IIHF to cancel women’s events while the men play on.”

The sentiments echo those that were made earlier in the year after the Women’s World Championships were cancelled twice before being rescheduled.