CALGARY, ALBERTA – The IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) announced on Sunday that the 2003 IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championship had been cancelled due to health and safety concerns, forcing Canada’s National Women’s Team to cancel its travel plans to Beijing, China.
"The situation (SARS pneumonia) took a drastic turn to the worse in the last few days and again after consulting our medical experts, we decided that canceling or postponing the championship was the only responsible thing", said IIHF President René Fasel. (from IIHF news release)
"We’re very disappointed for our players but commend the IIHF for putting the safety of the athletes and teams first," said Bob Nicholson, President of the Canadian Hockey Association. "Canadians can be very proud of this team, as it has continued to be very professional and thorough in its preparations despite the uncertainty of the Championship."
The IIHF said in a release that it "will shortly decide whether to operate the 2003 IIHF World Women Championship at a later date".
"The athletes and staff have worked extremely hard this week in Calgary, AB," said Head Coach Karen Hughes. "There is no doubt in my mind that this group of players and staff would have made Canada proud next week at the World Championship."
MEDIA AVAILABILITY WITH PLAYERS, COACHES AND CHA PRESIDENT BOB NICHOLSON will be at 2:30pm (MT) at the Father David Bauer Olympic Arena.
Canada’s National Women’s Team is still scheduled to practice at 3:45 pm (MT) at the Father David Bauer Olympic Arena.
CHA President Bob Nicholson and Head Coach Karen Hughes will also be made available to media during a Media Conference Call at 3pm (MT)/5pm (ET). To take part in this conference call, media are asked to call 1-416-695-9705 and ask for the CHA Media Call.