Our last hope for hockey this spring is no more. The IIHF and organization president Rene Fasel announced the cancelation of the 2020 World Championships scheduled for May in Switzerland, due to a spike in coronavirus cases and deaths.
NHL players who are not involved in the NHL playoffs often play in the tournament.
“This is a harsh reality to face for the international ice hockey family, but one that we must accept,” said Rene Fasel, the IIHF president, in a statement. “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.”
In 2015, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby became a member of the Triple-Gold club, which means a player has won a gold medal, Stanley Cup, and the World Championship. So far, 28 players have accomplished the feat. Jaromir Jagr is the only other player with Penguins ties to be a Triple Gold winner.
Swiss authorities announced a 25% spike in coronavirus cases on Saturday. The Italian total is now over 6100 with 56 fatalities, however, 13 of the fatalities occurred on Friday and Saturday.
The IIHF already canceled the Women’s World Championship which was scheduled for later March in Canada and six other sanctioned tournaments. Officials postponed the upcoming French Open tennis championship in neighboring France has been postponed until September, and Monaco cancelled the F1 Monaco Grand Prix. Monaco, like Switzerland, also borders both France and Italy.
The coronavirus has hit northern Italy especially hard. Italy has reported the most fatalities in the western world, with over 47,000 cases and 4,000 deaths.
Last week, the NHL postponed their season until the virus is contained in North America. Players have recently begun to discuss proposals to resume the season in July with a conclusion in September, then a small delay to the 2020-21 NHL season.
Editor’s Note: The original version of the story incorrectly listed 2014 as the year Crosby joined the Triple Gold Club.