March 15, 2020 / 2:13 PM / 3 months ago

Ice hockey: No champions - Sweden ends season over coronavirus

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - The Swedish Ice Hockey Association (SIHA) is ending the 2019-20 season immediately due to the spread of the coronavirus, with no playoffs, no champions, no promotion and no relegation, it said on Sunday.

Some matches were played last week with no fans in attendance while others were postponed, but after discussions with stakeholders the association announced the season was over. 

“The coronavirus has created great concern and uncertainty throughout society. For us, the most important thing right now is to do what we can for society in general, but also to put the health of players, leaders, officials and the public first,” Anders Larsson, chairman of the SIHA, said in a statement. 

“The association’s committee made the decision to call off the season ... and as a consequence is not awarding any Swedish championship this year, or playing the qualifying matches (for promotion/relegation),” the statement said. 

Lulea finished top of the men’s standings after the 52-game regular season ended on Thursday.

The women’s season had progressed further with HV71 and Lulea/MSSK making it to the best-of-five final series which, along with the men’s playoffs, has now been canceled.

Reporting by Philip O'Connor, editing by Ed Osmond

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