The 2021 World Championship tournaments for Great Britain Women and Great Britain Under-18 Men have been cancelled following recommendations by the IIHF’s Covid-19 Expert Group.

It follows the announcement in September of World Championship cancellations for Great Britain Under-20 Men and Great Britain Under-18 Women.

GB Women were set to take part in the Division II Group A tournament in Spain in April 2021, with GB U18 Men scheduled to be involved in the Division II Group A competition in Tallinn in the same month.

Chair of the GB Programme Board, David Hand, said: “This is very disappointing news but not unexpected in the current situation the world is in with the pandemic.

“As we said earlier this year with the 2020 tournaments, we understand how devastated our athletes will be who will now not be able to represent GB at a World Championship this season and we send them all our warm thoughts.

“I know it has been a very difficult decision for the IIHF to take, but with no sign currently of normality returning it is the best course of action to take.”

IIHF president, René Fasel, said: “During the last council meeting we agreed that to require each tournament host to operate a competition bubble was not a practical request for most organisers outside of the top divisions.

“What we can do is to shield these tournament organisers and the participating teams from potentially devastating financial losses, by taking the unpleasant but necessary step to initiate these cancellations now before travel plans and arena preparations begin.”

Eighteen tournaments have been impacted by the latest cancellations, bringing the total number of cancelled tournaments in the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship program to 28.

The Men’s World Championship, set to be held in Latvia and Belarus, is still currently scheduled for May with Great Britain drawn in Group A in Minsk.

The IIHF Council and the Covid-19 Expert Group will reconvene in January 2021 to review the status of remaining tournaments.

Click here to read more about the full tournament cancellations on the IIHF website.