Women's ice hockey world championships canceled due to coronavirus

Women's ice hockey world championships canceled due to coronavirus

The women's ice hockey world championships in Canada were canceled on Saturday due to concerns about recent outbreaks of the coronavirus.

International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) President René Fasel confirmed the decision in a conference call, according to The Associated Press.

The two-week tournament was set to begin March 31 at venues in Halifax and Truro, Nova Scotia.

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Fasel said concerns were raised regarding the players' health as well as fans attending the tournament amid the global spread of the virus as growing numbers of COVID-19 are reported throughout North America.

He also noted the difficulties of travel planning at this time and the fact that other countries such as Japan have canceled major sporting events.

Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney said the cancellation of the tournament was assessed as "the best course of action" after Nova Scotia's chief medical officer and the IIHF advised against continuing the championships.

"This decision was made in the best interest of the players, fans, staff, volunteers, and the general public. We fully support the IIHF's decision," Renney said in a statement.

The IIHF will wait until mid-April to decide on the procession of the men's world championships set to open May 8 in Switzerland.

Concerns about coronavirus have prompted the NHL to also take precautionary measures, according to the report.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Wednesday ordered league employees to halt all business-related travel outside North America until further notice.

The NHL also issued a statement to teams across the league urging players to minimize contact with fans by avoiding high-fives and signing items for autographs.