Women's world hockey championship, scheduled to be played in Nova Scotia, cancelled for second straight year
HALIFAX -- For a second straight year, there will be no IIHF Women's World Championship.
The International Ice Hockey Federation announced on Wednesday that the tournament was cancelled by the Nova Scotian government, 'due to concerns over safety risks associated with COVID-19.'
“This is very disappointing news to receive with just a few weeks until the tournament was to begin,” said IIHF President René Fasel. “We strongly believe that we had the adequate safety measures in place to protect players, officials, spectators, and all residents in Halifax and Truro, based on the IIHF and Hockey Canada’s experiences from hosting the IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton.”
In a joint statement, the IIHF and Hockey Canada says they have pledged to work toward finding a new date for the tournament, and hope to hold it later in the summer of 2021, potentially in a different Canadian city.
“While we are disappointed with the cancellation, we understand the decision was made with the health and safety of all participants and the community at large as the top priority,” said Hockey Canada President Tom Renney in a statement together with Hockey Canada Chief Operating Officer Scott Smith. “Hockey Canada wishes to thank the Province of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Health and Dr. Robert Strang for their assistance in the lead up to the event, and we support the decision that has been made. A tremendous amount of work has gone in to hosting a safe and successful world championship, and despite not being able to host the event in Nova Scotia, Hockey Canada remains committed to hosting the Women’s World Championship this year. We will explore all options to host the event in the coming months, if it is deemed safe to do so.”
“In the end, we must accept the decision of the government. This does not mean that we will not have a Women’s World Championship in 2021. We owe it to every single player that was looking forward to getting back on the ice after such a difficult year that we do everything possible to ensure this tournament can be moved to new dates and played this year," adds the IIHF statement.
Ten teams from around the world were scheduled to arrive in the province this week for the tournament, that had already been postponed from April until May.
The announcement comes a day after Nova Scotia’s top doctor said the tournament would be going forward despite increased travel restrictions in the province.
“That tournament, in my opinion, does not present a risk of transmitting or bringing COVID and transmitting it into Nova Scotia,”said N.S. chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang during a news conference on Tuesday. “They have very strict protocol and if they come here, they will be in a bubble that will have no interactions with Nova Scotians. Once they’re out of their quarantine, they still will not be interacting with Nova Scotians.”
Halifax and Truro were originally scheduled to host the 10-country 2020 World Championship from March 31-April 10, 2020, but that was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The IIHF awarded Nova Scotia the tournament again, with an original date of April 7-17, but the tournament was postponed again due to ‘the difficult circumstances and challenges for ice hockey and international travel posed by the COVID-19 pandemic’.
Canada last hosted a women's worlds in 2016 with the tournament held in Kamloops, B.C.
There is unlikely to be a 2022 edition of the tournament with the competition traditionally not held during Olympic years.
This is a developing story, more to come.
With files from TSN.ca