CANADA (AP) – The women’s world hockey championships in Canada were canceled Saturday because of the new coronavirus.
International Ice Hockey Federation President René Fasel told The Associated Press the decision was made by conference call. The two-week tournament was set to open March 31, with venues in Halifax and Truro, Nova Scotia.
Fasel said by phone that concerns were raised regarding the health of players and fans attending the tournament in light of the global spread of the virus. Hockey Canada was in the process of informing its officials and partners of the cancellation.
Fasel noted the difficulties some of the eight nations will encounter in simply making travel plans, such as Japan, where almost all sports events and large gatherings have been canceled.
“It’s scary,” Fasel said.
This marks the second time the women’s worlds have been canceled. The 2003 tournament scheduled for Beijing was called off because of the SARS outbreak in China.
Fasel said the status of other upcoming international hockey tournaments will be determined in the coming month, starting with the under-18 men’s championships in Michigan from April 16-26. Fasel said a decision regading that tournament likely will be made within 10 days.
And the IIHF will await until mid-April to determine whether to proceed with the men’s world championships set to open May 8 in Switzerland.
“For sure, we are concerned and we are monitoring this,” Fasel said.