French backs IIHF decision on tournaments

Ice Hockey UK General Secretary Andy French has highlighted the difficulties ahead for the GB Men's team

Ice Hockey UK general secretary Andy French spoke his disappointment at the cancellation of World Championship tournaments featuring Great Britain, but has backed the decision.

The ongoing coronavirus situation led to governing body, IIHF to convene at an extraordinary meeting, where they decided all tournaments in March would be cancelled.

This means the Men’s Under 18 Division II Group A tournament in Estonian capital, Tallinn where GB would be playing, was cancelled

As was GB Women’s Division II Group A campaign in Jaca, Spain at the end of March.

French was sympathetic to the judgement that was made and for the teams and staff who were scheduled to take part.

GB Women’s coach Cheryl Smith has seen her tournament cancelled as a result of the ongoing coronavirus situation (PHOTO: Ice Hockey UK)

“Of course, it is very disappointing but it is a totally understandable decision from the IIHF,” he said.

“Ice Hockey UK and the coaches of the respective teams are disappointed for the players – and not forgetting the on-ice officials too – who will now not be going to the World Championship tournaments in the next few weeks.

“But the IIHF have our backing 100% and I know it was a very difficult decision for them to make.”

As things stand, the GB Men’s competition in Switzerland remains scheduled, but no decision has yet been made, with Pete Russell’s men competing for a second successive season in the top flight.

The tournament “remains on schedule while the IIHF continues to monitor the situation.”

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