ZURICH – The Japanese Ice Hockey Federation has informed the IIHF that, in view of the catastrophic developments in Japan, the JIHF was left with no other option than to cancel the respective national teams’ participation in the three upcoming 2011 IIHF World Championship events:
++ IIHF World Championship Division I Group A (in Budapest, Hungary)
++ IIHF World U18 Championship Division I Group A (in Riga, Latvia)
++ IIHF World Women’s Championship Division I (in Ravensburg, Germany)
In the letter to the IIHF, the Japanese governing body of ice hockey writes that it is the moral obligation of the federation to, at the time of national grief, shift priorities and, thus, forgo participation in the three world championship tournaments.
The IIHF had earlier sent a letter of sympathy and condolences to the Japanese member national association and it has accepted the withdrawals with no reservations.
“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,” says IIHF President René Fasel. “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.”
“As ice hockey in Japan is concentrated to the northern parts, 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,” says the IIHF President. “We recognize 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 Japanese Ice Hockey Federation has informed the IIHF that family and friends of the Japanese ice hockey community, including co-workers of the national team players have fallen victim to the disaster.
Therefore, the IIHF Council has unanimously decided to:
- Play the 2011 WMIA, WM18IA, and WWI Championships without Japan, relegating the participating team that finishes in 5th place of the respective Championship Division and promoting the team that qualifies to promote from Division II, applying the corresponding IIHF Sport Regulations.
- Maintain the same seeding position for Japan to participate in the same IIHF Championship Division for the 2012 season.
- Award the Japanese Men’s and Women’s teams the World Ranking points of the 6th ranked team in both the men’s senior and women’s senior 2011 Championships following conclusion of the event.
“Since this is beyond any doubt a force-majeure it should excuse any party from any possible claims of liability. It is the time for the entire ice hockey family to stand together in support of a member”, concludes IIHF President René Fasel.
Footnote: The IIHF, together with the host organizing committees, will revise the respective championship schedules in order to accommodate the remaining teams’ playing schedules.