The IIHF has cancelled the 2020 men's World Championship due to the coronavirus outbreak, the organization announced on Saturday.
The tournament was scheduled to be held May 8 to 24 in Switzerland, and was the last remaining senior IIHF tournament to be cancelled this spring.
"This is a harsh reality to face for the international ice hockey family, but one that we must accept,” said IIHF President René Fasel. “The coronavirus is a global problem and requires major efforts by government bodies to combat its spread. The IIHF must do all it can to support this fight. We have to set sport aside for now and support both the government bodies and the ice hockey family.”
"We accept this decision of the IIHF Council,” said Gian Gilli, General Secretary for the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Organizing Committee. “But of course, this is a huge disappointment for the Organizing Committee. It is an exceptional situation for all concerned and it is now a question of resolving all the outstanding issues."
The Division 1 A and B men's tournaments, which were scheduled to be held in Slovenia and Poland respectively in late April, were cancelled on March 17. The Division II A and B tournaments, scheduled to be held in Croatia and Iceland in late April, were cancelled on March 13. The Division III A and B tournaments were scheduled to be held in Luxembourg and South Africa in late April and were also cancelled on March 13. The Division IV tournament was scheduled for early March in Kyrgyzstan, and was cancelled by the local government.
The main women's tournament, which was scheduled to be held in Halifax beginning March 31, was cancelled by the IIHF on March 7. The Division 1 A and B tournaments, scheduled for late March and April in France and Iceland, were cancelled in early March. The Division II A tournament was scheduled to be held late March in Spain, and was also cancelled early March. The Division II B and Division III tournaments were scheduled earlier in the year and were not affected by the outbreak, and were won by Australia and South Africa respectively.