The 2020 World Championship has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Ice Hockey Federation has announced.
Great Britain were due to take part at the elite level for the second consecutive season after retaining their status with a 4-3 overtime victory against France last year.
The tournament was scheduled to be played in Zurich and Lausanne, Switzerland from May 8 to 24 and there was no opportunity to delay the tournament to another year as the host country for the event is fixed until 2025.
The 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, it has been confirmed today by the IIHF Council. Story: https://t.co/N3rr4RucLT pic.twitter.com/uBQ9Uf8PVL
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) March 21, 2020
The tournament would have given Peter Russell’s squad the chance to test themselves against NHL stars, who usually join their national teams after the end of their club’s regular season in North America or if their team is eliminated early in the play-offs.
It follows the cancellation of the women’s tournament that was due to take place in Halifax and Truro in Canada earlier this month. The IIHF announced that tournament would return to Nova Scotia next year.
IIHF president Rene Fasel said: “This is a harsh reality to face for the international ice hockey family, but one that we must accept.
“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.”
The general secretary for the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Organising Committee Gian Gilli admitted disappointment.
“We accept this decision of the IIHF Council,” said Gilli.
“But of course, this is a huge disappointment for the Organising Committee. It is an exceptional situation for all concerned and it is now a question of resolving all the outstanding issues.”