New dates for women's world hockey championship at undetermined location

·2 min read

ZURICH — The 2021 women's world hockey championship has been rescheduled to Aug. 20-31 at a location yet to be named.

The International Ice Hockey Federation said in a statement it will evaluate venues with Hockey Canada for the 10-country tournament, which scheduled to start next week in Halifax and Truro, N.S., but was cancelled.

Nova Scotia premier Iain Rankin pulled the plug on the tournament April 21 over concerns about rising COVID-19 cases in the province.

Teams were about to board international flights to Canada that day. Some players criticized the IIHF for not having a backup plan.

“The players, the teams, Hockey Canada, and the IIHF have been placed in a difficult position due to the sudden cancellation," IIHF president Rene Fasel said Friday in a statement.

"This is not an excuse to operate this tournament as a half-measure.

“In our meeting with the teams, unfortunately we were unable to achieve a full consensus on the dates, with some teams preferring to play in early September and others in late August.

"But we need to respect as much as possible the start of various women’s leagues around the world, and also recognize the needs of the four teams that must prepare for the women’s Olympic qualification tournament in November.”

Three entrants for the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing will be determined by the Olympic qualifying tournament.

The Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary and Germany, which are in the world championship field, will also battle for Beijing berths less than three months later.

The top six countries in the IIHF's women's rankings and host China will be the other countries competing for gold in Beijing.

The women's championship in Nova Scotia was cancelled a second time. Last year's tournament was called off and this year's tournament was postponed from April to May because of COVID-19.

"Hockey Canada has had multiple discussions over the last week with the International Ice Hockey Federation and the competing international federations," Hockey Canada said in statement.

"Hockey Canada continues to reinforce its desire to host the 2021 IIHF women's world hockey championship in Canada."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 30, 2021.

The Canadian Press