IIHF cancels 6 tournaments over coronavirus concerns

Yahoo Sports Canada
(Getty)
(Getty)

The International Ice Hockey Federation announced Monday that it has cancelled six tournaments amid the coronavirus outbreak, including four men’s events and two women’s competitions.

Four U18 tournaments and two women’s senior events have been affected as the virus continues to spread across the globe.

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The IIHF Medical Committee recommended the cancellation of these specific tournaments during its meeting Saturday in Budapest, Hungary. The IIHF will meet again in mid-March in Zurich to discuss the impacts—both financial and logistically—of the these cancellations, according to a statement.

A big decision will have to be made fairly soon on whether or not the World Championships will trudge ahead like usual.

“In the meantime, the IIHF Office continues to monitor the development of the coronavirus and will re-evaluate daily the capability of tournament organizers to host IIHF championships in April. 

“Based on the developments of the coming weeks, the IIHF Council will be presented with a series of scenarios during its March meeting before deciding on the next course of action.”

The latest IIHF cancellations were announced just days after the two top Swiss leagues decided to delay the beginning of their respective postseasons, and the Swiss government’s implementation of a ban on events with more than 1,000 spectators. 

The rapid spread of coronavirus also forced the postponement of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association’s Tokyo Series of the Dream Gap Tour, which was supposed to run from March 4-7. The PWHPA, however, stated that Japan’s Ice Hockey Federation “felt compelled to cancel the event in light of the worsening of the coronavirus outbreak in the region,” per Jared Clinton of The Hockey News.

The NHL is keeping a close eye on the situation, too.

“It’s hard not to monitor it,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said last week to NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti. “It seems to be coming closer to us every time, every day that goes by. Certainly, it impacts what our plans will be in China in the future and in the relatively near future.” 

TSN’s Rick Westhead chimed in on Twitter on Monday, claiming the NHL “advised frequent hand washing for players/team staff, more teleconference meetings, and monitoring of alerts from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” in a memo sent to teams last Friday.

Westhead added that in speaking to a Toronto infection diseases doctor, he was told the “NHL, NBA and other leagues need to consider canceling or postponing games or playing without spectators.”

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