Hockey Canada cancels all sanctioned events until further notice

Hockey Canada’s board of directors announced on Thursday evening that all of their sanctioned events, including their national championships, would be cancelled until further notice due to COVID-19 effective Friday.

“Without question, this an unprecedented period of difficulty for the sports world. The health and safety of all participants in sport, including players, coaches, staff, officials, fans, family, volunteers and the general public, is of the utmost importance to Hockey Canada,” chief executive officer Tom Renney said in a prepared statement, which was also credited to president and chief operating officer Scott Smith.

“After much consultation with the Hockey Canada membership, our chief medical officer and public health officials, the Hockey Canada Board of Directors has made the decision to cancel all Hockey Canada-sanctioned activities, including our national championships, until further notice, effective Friday, March 13, 2020.

“We recognize the tremendous effort that has been put forth all year by individuals across the country as they participate in Canada’s game. Although it is difficult to process the hockey season ending abruptly, we feel this is the best course of action in order to do our part in keeping our country safe.”

Among the events that were immediately affected were the University Cup in Halifax, which already had two quarter-final games completed as of Thursday night.

While acknowledging that the situation was ever-changing due to COVID-19, 2020 Esso Cup chair Robin Wildey said on Thursday morning that the national female midget AAA championship was still set to take place from April 19-25 at the Art Hauser Centre.

“We have been in talks with Hockey Canada and we’ve been having a daily conference call session with them over the last week,” Wildey said.

“They are obviously aware of the situation and it’s on all of our minds, especially since the Women’s World Championship in Halifax was cancelled last week. On our end, we’re making sure that player safety is first and foremost and we’re doing whatever we can so that the teams, parents and fans are all safe.

“At the end of the day though, it is a Hockey Canada call and we’ll support them no matter what they decided to do.”