The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) officially announced on Wednesday that the women's world hockey championship tournament in Canada has been postponed indefinitely. The announcement comes after health officials in Nova Scotia told the IIHF that the province's borders are being closed over concerns regarding COVID-19.
The 10-team tournament was set to begin on May 6 and end on May 16 in Halifax and Truro. Last year the world championships were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. No new dates for the 2021 tournament have been officially announced yet.
IIHF chief Rene Fasel said he is disappointed by the decision to postpone the event.
"This is very disappointing news to receive with just a few weeks until the tournament was to begin," Fasel said. "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.
He added that it is crucial to have the tournament held this year because it is the final tournament of its kind before the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Teams were planning to leave for the tournament within the next few days to ensure they could follow the country's quarantine protocols and were told of the cancelation after they had already made arrangements, according to the Associated Press.