The annual Bell Capital Cup hockey tournament has been cancelled due to concerns about rising COVID-19 case counts and the Omicron variant, organizers say.
The under-13 tournament was slated to welcome 197 teams to the nation's capital later this month, with games slated to begin Dec. 28.
However, the Ottawa International Hockey Festival's board of directors announced Friday they were pulling the plug on the tournament due to recommendations by public health officials to suspend participation in indoor sports.
"It was determined that cancelling the tournament was the best course of action to keep participants, volunteers, spectators and facility staff safe and to assist in limiting the spread of COVID-19," the board said in a statement.
Last year's edition was also cancelled due to the pandemic.
Ottawa reported 309 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, only the seventh time the daily tally has been above 300 since the start of the pandemic.
Teams that have already booked hotel rooms will get refunds as soon as possible, the board said.