It probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but Japanese officials announced that they will pull all of their teams from the upcoming 2011 IIHF world championships tournament (and any related qualifying events). They did so as a result of the disastrous earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan earlier this month.
The International Ice Hockey Federation notes that many Japanese players and officials had friends, family members and/or colleagues who were affected by the natural disaster.
The Japanese men’s team was slated to play a qualifier in Hungary, while the under-18 team play was set to play in Latvia and the women’s team planned to play in qualifying games in Germany.
The qualifying rounds for the men’s championship games take place from April 17-23, while the championship tournament is scheduled to begin on April 29th.