Canada will hope to win the event for the first time since 2012 ©Getty Images

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Ice Hockey Women's World Championship will get underway tomorrow, with the preliminary stage of the tournament taking place behind closed doors.

The delayed event will take place at the WinSport Arena at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.

The IIHF announced Calgary as the new host city for the tournament in June, after Nova Scotia's Government pulled out of staging the event in April.

Nova Scotia's withdrawal came less than a month before the event was due to start on May 6.

The 10 competing nations entered a tournament bubble on August 10, with organisers confirming on Tuesday (August 17) that 1,557 negative Covid-19 PCR tests were recorded amongst all players, team staff, game officials and IIHF staff.

Teams were permitted to leave quarantine and play warm-up matches yesterday.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the cancellation of last year’s World Championships, continues to impact the event due to fans being prevented from attending the early stages of the tournament.

Hockey Canada and the local Host Organising Committee decided tickets for preliminary round matches would not be available to the public.

Scott Smith, Hockey Canada President and chief operating officer, said: "While we would love to be able to welcome fans to WinSport Arena in Calgary, our priority focus is the health and safety of all involved, allowing the best women’s hockey players in the world to compete and ensuring we can present medals on August 31.

"We are incredibly fortunate to have the tremendous support of our broadcast partners, as TSN will broadcast all preliminary-round games, quarter-finals, semi-finals and medal games, while RDS will provide coverage of all Canada games, in addition to playoff-round games."

Hockey Canada added that it will work with health authorities to investigate all options as it relates to ticketing and fan capacity for the event, with a continued focus and emphasis on the health of Albertans and the 10 competing teams.

Hosts Canada will be in action tomorrow when they face Finland in the opening Group A match of the tournament, before Switzerland take on defending champions United States.

Group A is completed by the Russian Olympic Committee, who will compete under the banner due to the Court of Arbitration for Sport decision in the Russian Anti-Doping Agency case.

All five teams in Group A are assured of places in the quarter-finals.

Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Hungary and Japan will compete in Group B, with the top three earning quarter-final spots.

The bottom two teams will be eliminated.

The US will target a sixth consecutive World Championship title, which would confirm their status as favourites for Olympic gold at Beijing 2022.

The US could draw level with Canada as record 10-times winners of the event.

Canada last triumphed at the World Championships in 2012 and have since finished as the runners-up on four occasions.

Finland finished as the runners-up in 2019, the last time the tournament took place.