The head of the International Ice Hockey Federation on Friday defended the decision to not have an alternative host site for the women’s world hockey championship, which was called off this week for the second year in a row. IIHF President Rene Fasel emphasized that the goal is to reschedule the event for later this year either in Nova Scotia as planned or elsewhere.
Fasel said the IIHF and Hockey Canada were confident the tournament would go ahead until Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin pulled the plug Wednesday amid concerns about rising coronavirus cases in the province. “As both the IIHF and Hockey Canada had assurances that this event was going to proceed a few days before the cancellation announcement, this news was completely unexpected,” Fasel said. Having a backup site for a 10-nation tournament was “just not possible from an expense and logistical perspective.”
The call to cancel was made by the government in Nova Scotia just for one day before participating countries were set to arrive for the tournament, which featured strict COVID-19 protocols, including an eight-day quarantine. Nova Scotia cited 25 new COVID-19 cases in the province on Wednesday, which brought the active caseload to 79.Both American and Canadian players learned the news when they were on the ice at pretournament camps in their respective countries Some were hours from boarding planes to travel to Canada to quarantine ahead of the May 6-16 tournament but instead learned the event was off.
While men’s pro hockey leagues carry on, many top female players remain in limbo. “Our group in a way feels as if our sport is on hold,” Jenner said. “It goes beyond just one tournament. We’ve just had a string of bad luck in women’s hockey.