Hockey Canada is considering pushing back the start of next month’s women’s world championships into May, International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel told The Associated Press on Monday.
Though nothing is finalized, Fasel said the reasons to consider delaying the start of the tournament is to provide more time for the coronavirus pandemic to ease and potentially allow fans to attend games.
“We try to make a little delay because we really hope the situation can be better when it gets warmer. We are working now on a postponement,” Fasel said by phone from Europe. “We saw it last year with the virus as soon as the weather was warmer, maybe the restrictions will be different.”
The 10-team tournament is scheduled to be held in Halifax and Truro, Nova Scotia from April 7-17, a year after the event was cancelled.
In an email to The AP, Hockey Canada issued a statement saying hosting the championship “remains a priority” without revealing whether the tournament’s start could be delayed.
“We will continue to take direction from the IIHF as it looks ahead to other spring championships throughout the 2020-21 season,” Hockey Canada said. “All our hockey, venue and event partners remain committed to finding a solution to host a successful world championship.”
Fasel’s comments came on the same day Hockey Canada opened a weeklong training camp in advance of the tournament. The camp features 35 players and runs through Saturday in Halifax.
Last month, Canada introduced strict COVID-19 protocols requiring those travelling into the country to provide proof of a negative test within 72 hours of arrival, and then spend two weeks in self-isolation.