Calgary to host women's world hockey championship after Nova Scotia event cancelled

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CALGARY — The women's world hockey championship will take place this summer in Calgary after the event was cancelled in Nova Scotia earlier this year.

Hockey Canada announced Wednesday that the 10-country tournament will take place Aug. 20-31 at WinSport Arena at Canada Olympic Park. It will mark the first time Alberta has hosted the tournament.

Teams are expected to arrive in Calgary on Aug. 10 and will immediately enter quarantine before resuming practices and possible pre-tournament games. The first games will take place Aug. 20.

Hockey Canada says a full tournament schedule will be announced later.

The women's championship was to take place in Halifax and Truro, N.S., in May before premier Iain Rankin pulled the plug on the tournament over rising COVID-19 cases in the province.

It was the second straight year the tournament was cancelled in Nova Scotia. Last year's tournament was called off because of COVID-19.

The International Ice Hockey Federation and Hockey Canada vowed to reschedule the tournament in Canada this year after the cancellation.

"Despite the unfortunate cancellation of the IIHF Women’s World Championship in April, Hockey Canada’s ongoing priority has been to host the event this year, and we have remained committed to running a world-class event in Canada," Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer of Hockey Canada, said in a release.

"A tremendous amount of work and collaboration with Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services has taken place to ensure the event will be held in a safe and secure manner."

Alberta has hosted major sports events during the global pandemic.

The Professional Women's Hockey Players Association's Secret Cup last week was held at Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on the Tsuu’tina Nation and Scotiabank Saddledome — home of the NHL's Calgary Flames.

The Markin MacPhail Centre at Canada Olympic Park was the site of a seven-event curling bubble from Feb. 19 to May 9 that included the Canadian and world men's and women's championships.

Edmonton, meanwhile, hosted the 2020 world junior hockey championship and was one of two hub cities used to finish off the 2019-20 NHL season after a months-long hiatus due to COVID-19.

Canada last hosted the women's world championship in Kamloops, B.C., in 2016. The 2019 event was held in Espoo, Finland. Canada finished third, marking the first time since the tournament made its debut that it did not win gold or silver.

Many of the top women's hockey players have barely played during the pandemic.

The pandemic had kept the 60 players in the Secret Cup from playing in meaningful hockey games in over a year.

The Secret Cup offered the first elite women’s hockey games in Canada since a PWHPA tournament in Toronto in January 2020.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 2, 2021.

The Canadian Press