'Safe hosting destination': Calgary to host women's hockey championship

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Building on the success of holding a number of curling world championships, Calgary has now been chosen to host the IIHF Women's World Championship for the very first time.

Hockey Canada made the announcement Wednesday, saying the 31-game tournament would be played from mid-to-late August at Canada Olympic Park.

Ten teams will be competing and officials say they have been striving to ensure the event goes ahead, given the fact that the 2020 edition had to be cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"A tremendous amount of work and collaboration with Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services has taken place to ensure the event will be held in a safe and secure manner," said Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer of Hockey Canada, in a statement.

"We are grateful to the Province of Alberta, the City of Calgary, Tourism Calgary, WinSport and all our event partners for working together to provide the best women’s hockey players in the world an opportunity to compete for a gold medal."

MILLIONS FOR THE LOCAL ECONOMY

Officials call Hockey Canada's decision to choose Calgary as the host city a "significant win" for tourism and the economy.

"Calgary has earned an international reputation as a safe hosting destination," said Carson Ackroyd, senior vice-president of sales with Tourism Calgary in a release.

"Tourism Calgary is very proud to partner with Hockey Canada to bring this event to our city for the benefit of the athletes, fans from around the world, Calgary’s tourism industry and our city’s economy."

The organization says the venture will also be "an important step" to help Calgary's hospitality industry recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hosting the IIHF Women's World Championship will also keep Calgary in the international spotlight, Tourism Calgary says.

The event is expected to bring in more than $8 million to Calgary's economy.

All health and safety protocols will be followed leading up to the competition, Hockey Canada says, and those rules will also be adhered to throughout the entire tournament.

All the participating teams will arrive in Calgary on Aug. 10 and will immediately enter quarantine before resuming practices and possible pre-tournament games.

A full schedule will be announced in the coming days.