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IIHF World Women's Championship cancelled

Halifax and Truro had been scheduled to host the 10-country hockey tournament between May 6-16
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(stock photo)

The IIHF World Women's Championship has been cancelled.

Halifax and Truro had been scheduled to host the 10-country hockey tournament between May 6-16.

In a statement, the IIHF says the province decided to cancel the event "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 the federation's 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.”

The IIHF and Hockey Canada are hoping the tournament can be rescheduled, ideally this summer.

"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," said a joint statement.

Premier Iain Rankin said the tournament was cancelled on his recommendation.

"I sincerely regret the short notice, but the rapidly changing environment dictates this decision in the interest of the safety of Nova Scotians and participants," he said in a news release Wednesday afternoon.

"We have worked diligently with Hockey Canada to ensure we can stage a safe and successful world hockey championship and they have been a great partner, but the safety of the Nova Scotia public and participants is paramount and is the reason for our decision."

As of 8 a.m. Thursday, all non-essential travellers will be denied entry into Nova Scotia for four weeks.

Despite this, just yesterday, Dr. Robert Strang said he expected the tournament would be able to go forward as, in his opinion, it didn't pose a risk because protocols were to be in place to prevent players from interacting with Nova Scotians.

Players were to quarantine in individual rooms "for a number of days" before being allowed to bubble with their teams.

However, last week, the chief medical officer of health made it clear that if the province's COVID-19 situation changed, adjustments to the plan would be made, including cancellation if necessary.

"We have that ability and will always put the protection of Nova Scotians first ahead of any event, including an international hockey tournament," he stated last Tuesday.

At yesterday's briefing, Strang stated he was concerned about early signs of possible community spread of the virus in multiple Halifax Regional Municipality communities, asking anyone who lives in Halifax, Dartmouth, Sackville or Lawrencetown to get tested, even if they don't have symptoms.

He said there was no need to panic, however he called the increase in COVID-19 activity "a warning sign."

"Investigations are ongoing. We are monitoring things closely and doing broad testing," he explained before cautioning, "we will take early and stronger action if necessary."



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Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the community editor for HalifaxToday.ca.
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