Japan Withdraw from 3 IIHF World Champs. Due to Disaster

March 30, 2011

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) have announced that Japan has pulled all its teams out of three World Championships because of the country’s devastating earthquake and tsunami that ravaged the north.

IIHF President Rene Fasel stated: “What we are witnessing in Japan is one of the biggest natural disasters in recent memory and the consequences of the earthquakes and tsunamis are catastrophic.

“As ice hockey in Japan is concentrated to the northern parts [of Japan], we know that many of the athletes selected to represent their country and also the officials have been directly or indirectly affected by the disaster.

“We recognise with full sympathy the need of the athletes and officials to be with their loved ones during the very difficult times of mourning and national recovery.”

The IIHF said Japanese ice hockey’s governing body had stated its moral obligation to forgo participation in three World Championship tournaments, including the event for second ranked teams in Budapest next month.

They have also withdrawn from the women’s World Championship Division One in Ravensburg, Germany, and the under-18 World Championships Division One in Riga, Latvia.

Fasel added: “Although we regret the absence of the Japanese athletes at our championships, this is a time where sporting activities become almost irrelevant.

“Our thoughts are with the Japanese people who have suffered immeasurably during the last weeks and we know that it will take many years to overcome the damages.”