Selection camp

The PEI government has indicated to Hockey Canada its interest in hosting the 2021 Women’s World Hockey Championship later this year, with Charlottetown and Summerside as co-hosts, according to staff from both cities. In this photo, players trying out for Team Canada compete in last month’s selection camp. Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada photo

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Charlottetown and Summerside have both indicated their interest in hosting the Women’s World Hockey Championship later this year, and they say the province has taken the lead on the file.

Nova Scotia was scheduled to host the tournament, but cancelled in late April due to a significant COVID-19 outbreak that has led to a lockdown in the greater Halifax area.

Hockey Canada announced April 30 the tournament would be rescheduled for August 20-31, with a new host in Canada to be determined in the next few weeks.

Wayne Long, events development officer for the City of Charlottetown, said the city is working closely with Tourism PEI and the Chief Public Health Office on the matter, similar to last summer when the city hosted the Canadian Premier Soccer League.

Mr Long said many places across Canada have also expressed interest in hosting, but he believes PEI is “well-positioned” to take on the event, with Charlottetown and Summerside serving as co-hosts.

If the Island were selected, Hockey Canada would choose which rinks would host games, Mr Long said.

In Summerside, community services director JP Desrosiers said Hockey Canada has been made aware the two cities would be “willing to support” the need for a host venue.

“However, we do need to remain mindful of our colleagues in Nova Scotia, who were on the cusp of hosting this event and as a result of COVID issues outside their control, were unable,” he said. “As someone in the event industry, I can certainly sympathize with their situation.”

Hockey PEI executive director Connor Cameron said the organization is not actively involved in any discussions and the decision lies far above its sphere of influence. However, he said Hockey PEI would be “very excited if it was to land here.”

Mr Cameron said regardless of who hosts the tournament, he hopes the athletes get a chance to compete.

Meanwhile, Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean raised the possibility of PEI hosting the tournament as early as June in an intermission interview with Rene Fasel, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, on May 1. Mr Fasel shot down the idea of staging the tournament that soon.

Hockey Canada communications manager Esther Madziya said the host selection will prioritize the safety of the participants and the host community, while providing an experience worthy of the best female hockey players in the world.

A request for comment from the province was returned on Wednesday. Spokesperson Vicki Tse confirmed PEI would be interested in having the tournament, depending on hosting requirements and approval from the Chief Public Health Office.

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