The tournament was scheduled to take place in Zurich and Lausanne, Switzerland, from May 8-24.

The 2020 IIHF World Championship was officially cancelled on Saturday due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The announcement comes just nine days after the NHL “paused” the 2019-20 season.

“This is a harsh reality to face for the international ice hockey family, but one that we must accept,” IIHF President Rene Fasel said. “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.”

The Blackhawks had 13 players represent their home countries in the tournament last year. Forward Patrick Kane served as Team USA’s captain in each of the last two tournaments, and the 2016 Hart Trophy winner is also USA’s all-time point leader with 42 points.

“We accept this decision of the IIHF council,” said Gian Gilli, General Secretary for the 2020 IIHF World Championship Organizing Committee. “But of course, this is a huge disappointment for the Organizing Committee. It is an exceptional situation for all concerned and it is now a question of resolving all the outstanding issues.”

The IIHF council also added that are no possibilities of relocating the tournament to another country. All future locations for the World Championship are set until 2025, which makes a quick relocation difficult.

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