Fifteen days before the puck was set to drop, the IIHF announced the 2021 World Championship tournament was cancelled, per a decision reached by the provincial government of Nova Scotia.
“Hockey Canada was informed by the Province of Nova Scotia this morning that a decision has been made to cancel the 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Halifax and Truro. While we are disappointed with the cancellation, we understand the decision was made with the health and safety of all participants and the community at large as the top priority,” said Hockey Canada President Tom Renney in a statement together with Hockey Canada Chief Operating Officer Scott Smith.
The IIHF and Hockey Canada added they would look for new dates in the summer. The upcoming 2022 Olympics and centralization plans for at least the US and Canada make the timeline for the tournament extremely tight.
This is the second straight year the World Championship tournament has been cancelled due to COVID. The 2020 edition was also planned for Nova Scotia, but the cancellation of the tournament made much more sense as the pandemic had just begun.
The cancellation, or possible postponement, means that every single IIHF women’s Worlds tournament on the schedule for 2021 has been cancelled. The last time a women’s IIHF tournament was played was late February 2020 when six countries met in Iceland for the Group II Division B tournament.
In the same time period, the IIHF has managed to play men’s U20 (World Juniors) in a bubble and will hold men’s U18 in Texas starting on April 26.
The US had already announced their roster and was preparing to leave their training camp in Portland, Maine for their eight-day Canada quarantine on April 22, according to USA Hockey’s Camp Notebook. Their initially announced coach Bob Corkum stepped away from the team on the eve of camp due to concerns protocols, according to AP, which based on Corkum’s social media activity and reporting by Kirsten Whalen is believed to mean the protocols were too tight. Canada currently has 47 players at a camp in Halifax already. The last time the two North American teams played each other was the final game of the 2019-2020 Rivalry Series.