The IIHF World Hockey Championship: More Than Just Another Tournament

The IIHF World Hockey Championship: More Than Just Another Tournament

To North American hockey fans, it’s often dismissed as the Consolation Round; the tournament for the also-rans.  But that typically myopic New World mentality is not shared by the hockey world back on the Continent.

European hockey fans circle the dates of the annual IIHF World Hockey Championship on their calendar, because while the Stanley Cup is important, so too is being named World Champion.  This time around, the fun is being held in Bratislava, and Kosice, Slovakia, from May 10th through to the 26th.  The host Slovaks won the Tournament back in 2002, and recently grabbed silver in 2012.  It’ll be tough to again find the podium, as they find themselves in Group A, a bracket that also includes Finland, Germany, Denmark, France, and Great Britain (first time since 1994).  And two countries by the names of the United States and Canada.

The Americans have never won this tournament, though they were crowned World Champions back in 1960, after capturing the Gold Medal in the Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley.  For this tournament, the Yanks are considered one of the favourites, and young phenom Jack Hughes is a key part of the U.S. attack.  Hughes is expected to go first overall (to the New Jersey Devils) in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver this June, though Finnish forward Kaapo Kakko would be a nice addition to the New York Rangers as the number two pick.  Kakko scored a highlight reel goal against Canada in their opening game, and also added an empty netter.

Hughes and Kakko go head-to-head Monday at 10 am Eastern, when the Americans face off against Finland.

Canada has fared better at the Worlds, having amassed 26 overall Championships, the most recent being in 2016.  They got off to a rocky start to this tournament, losing high scoring forward John Tavares to injury before things got underway, then dropping their first game 3-1 to Kaapo Kakko and the Finns.

Group B consists of Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Austria, Italy, and the powerhouse Russians.  They last won it all back in 2014, and boast the most overall championships at 27.  Sweden are the two-time defending champs, having conquered Switzerland (!) in the Gold Medal game last spring, and Canada the year before that.

SiriusXM NHL Network Radio Channel 91 will air a number of games featuring either the Canadian, or American team, including when they meet face-to-face on Tuesday, May 21st.  The Gold Medal Game is set for Sunday, May 26th.

2019 IIHF World Hockey Championship (Bratislava & Kosice, Slovakia)
Teams Date Time (ET) Other Notes
Great Britain vs. Canada Sunday, May 12, 2019 14:00 Kosice
USA vs. Finland Monday, May 13, 2019 10:00 Kosice
Slovakia vs. Canada Monday, May 13, 2019 14:00 Kosice
Canada vs. France Thursday, May 16, 2019 10:00 Kosice
Canada vs. Germany Saturday, May 18, 2019 10:00 Kosice
Canada vs. Denmark Monday, May 20, 2019 14:00 Kosice
Canada vs. USA Tuesday, May 21, 2019 14:00 Kosice
Quarterfinal Thursday, May 23, 2019 10:00 TBD
Quarterfinal Thursday, May 23, 2019 14:00 TBD
Semifinal Saturday, May 25, 2019 9:00 Bratislava
Semifinal Saturday, May 25, 2019 13:00 Bratislava
Bronze Medal Game (Only if Canada is playing) Sunday, May 26, 2019 9:30 Bratislava
Gold Medal Game Sunday, May 26, 2019 14:00 Bratislava

 

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