The International Ice Hockey Federation has cancelled almost every tournament since COVID-19 started spreading. From smaller tournaments to larger ones, the risk has been deemed too high for them to put the tournaments on. This includes the Men’s and Women’s Senior World Championships. So what is different about the Men’s Under 20 World Championship? Money.
TSN created a behemoth when they started broadcasting and then later marketing the U-20 Men’s World Championships. They figured out that the NHL had slowed down around Christmas and they could sell this tournament and all day games to people. Their bet was right and their broadcasting slowly started gaining followers. And then Canada started winning.
The broadcasting of the tournament not only in Canada, but worldwide means that this tournament is massive to the IIHF and a real money-maker. Much like losing out on the television revenues generated from the playoffs was never an option for the NHL, I would hazard a guess that the money involved is too great for the IIHF to not honour the contract even if it puts participants at a higher risk as they have been if they were just staying home and playing in their respective leagues.
The IIHF and most sports organizations cannot hide that they put revenues above people. While it worked in the NHL and NBA, no one knows if it will work again when we are dealing with mass international travel and surging cases. Good luck, IIHF.