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Division I ice hockey worlds in Slovenia cancelled

Ljubljana, 17 March - This year's Ice Hockey World Championship Division I, whose Group A tournament was scheduled to take place in the Slovenian capital between 27 April and 3 May, has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) decided at Tuesday's correspondence session.

Nuremberg, Germany
An ice hockey stick and puck.
Photo: dpa/STA

The cancellation was reported by the Slovenian Ice Hockey Association (HZS), which said the Group B tournament of the second-tier world championship in Poland's Katowice had also been cancelled.

In addition to the Slovenian national team, the tournament in Ljubljana's Tivoli Arena was supposed to feature France, Austria, South Korea, Hungary and Romania.

The new date for the tournament will be determined at the next IIHF congress, which is scheduled to take place in June.

The cancellation had been expected, as HZS secretary general Dejan Kontrec recently told the STA that the tournament would bring a huge loss if it was to be played in an empty arena.

As the new coronavirus started to spread around the world, ticket sales virtually stopped, and the association suspended promotional activities as this would only bring additional costs.

Commenting on the cancellation being officially confirmed today, Kontrec said that "of course all of us had wanted this championship ... but the situation forces us to put the health of players, fans and all others first."

Ljubljana most recently hosted a tournament at the same level in 2012. Slovenia won the competition to get promoted to the Elite Division for 2013.

zm/ep
© STA, 2020