The coronavirus pandemic has prevented the 2020 Ice Hockey World Cup from being held. The world’s best ice hockey teams will return to compete for the title at the end of May 2021.
16 teams will participate in the tournament, initially divided into two groups. The entire struggle will last 17 days and will take place entirely in Latvia. Originally the competition was to be shared, Belarus and Latvia were chosen to host the tournament. Due to social unrest and unstable political situation, the International Ice Hockey Federation decided to withdraw the rights of the Belarusian organizer and entrust them entirely to Latvians.
For many years, the NHL’s Elite World Cup and Best League matches didn’t overlap as much as they are this year. Due to the fact that it is almost in line with the tournament under the auspices of IIHF, the NHL playoffs have also started. This means that in this edition of the tournament, we will not see as many hockey stars outside as usual. However, there is no shortage of young future stars who will soon be playing in the NHL. We are talking about Matte Benners (USA) or Owen Bauer (Canada).
The first matches will be played on Friday May 21 and the final match will be held on June 6. 16 teams will play in the group stage, which will last 12 days (ending June 1). The quarter-final matches will start on June 3, the semi-final on June 5, and the third-place match on June 6. All this in Riga, the capital of Latvia. Two ice rinks: Arena Riga and Olympic Sports Center are the two areas where the goal and point battle will be played. Latvia hosted this event for the last time 15 years ago – in 2006 the Swedes won.
Group A: Russian Olympic Committee, Sweden, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Slovakia, Denmark, Belarus, Great Britain
Group 2: Canada, Finland, USA, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Italy, Kazakhstan
Russia is shortened to ROC (descended from the Russian Olympic Committee) and its representatives are not allowed to play under the national flag or hear the national anthem due to the union sanction imposed by WADA for the doping scandal. After “Spurna” victories in this tournament, part of the piano concert by Puter Tchaikovsky will be played in place of the anthem.
The Czechs, who managed to assemble a team with great potential, could be considered candidates for the tournament. There are players in the NHL: Jacob Vrana, Philippe Chittel, Philippe Zadina and Dominic Kubalik. Hypothetically, we will not see many NHL stars in the Finnish national team, but that is not an obstacle for the team led by coach Jukka Jalonen. In 2019, without any player from this competition, “Soumy” managed to win the gold medal, and this year they will try to repeat this success.
The Russians have few stars on their list, although they can boast one of the strongest groups in the tournament especially in the field of defense. Ivan Browarov, Wladyslaw Jauriko, Artium Zob, Nikita Zadorov, Nikita Nestero. Their hypothetical good performance could be undermined by the goalkeeper duo, who are considered an absolute debut at this level in the form of Ivan Fedotov and Alexander Samsonov.
The Swedes managed to collect a large offensive arsenal, which has many “guns” recognized among their competitors. Rickard Raquel and Adrian Kembe of the California NHL Team will play for “Terzi Coroni”. The Canadian team is less wealthy than usual, and the same can be said of the United States. The tournament’s dark horse may turn to Switzerland, where Nico Hescher, the only player in the National Hockey League, will play in the tournament. Germany cannot be ruled out competing effectively with the best.
/AP /East News