27 tournaments assigned

World Championship structure for 2018 known

19.05.2017
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The 9,000-seat Laszlo Papp Sportarena will host the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A. Photo: Laszlo Mudra

The hosts for the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship program in five categories and at several levels have been assigned by the 2017 IIHF Annual Congress.

Several top-level events have already been assigned beforehand. For the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship we will go to Copenhagen and Herning as Denmark will host the IIHF’s flagship event for the first time ever. The 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship will be played in Buffalo in the state of New York and only a few miles away from the Canadian border.

Russia was earlier determined as host of the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship that will take place in the Ural region in Chelyabinsk and Magnitogorsk. The Ice Hockey Federation of Russia will also host the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship in the city of Nizhni Novgorod. The city 400 kilometres east of Moscow is one of the most famous centres of women’s hockey in the country and home to multiple champion SKIF Nizhni Novgorod.

Many tournaments have been assigned for the levels below the top division.

The best six nations outside of the men’s top division will play the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A in the Hungarian capital of Budapest.

The event will take place in the 9,000-seat Laszlo Papp Sportarena in the Hungarian capital of Budapest.

The venue has previously hosted several other hockey events at that level including the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I events in 2011 and 2013 and Olympic Pre-Qualification groups for Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018. The proposed dates are 22-28 April 2018.

Slovenia, Italy, Kazakhstan, Poland, Hungary and Great Britain will play in the tournament and the top-two teams will qualify for the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Bratislava and Kosice, Slovakia.

The bid for Warsaw was withdrawn by Poland in favour for Budapest since Poland hosted head-to-head events in 2015 and 2016 and plans to move forward with its application for another year.

The tier below, the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B, will be hosted in Lithuania’s second-largest city of Kaunas. After two successful tournaments in Vilnius during the last eight years, the event will go to the largest indoor arena of the Baltic countries, the Zalgiris Arena with a capacity of 13,762 fans for ice hockey.

The venues hasn’t been used for ice hockey yet but hosted many international games in basketball, the country’s national sport, and will be ready for the proposed tournament dates 22-28 April 2018. Ukraine, Japan, Lithuania, Estonia, Croatia and Romania will battle for promotion to the Division I Group A.

In total 27 tournaments have been assigned. Often they went to venues that have the experience of IIHF tournaments in the past but beside Kaunas there were also other applicants from new markets. For example the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division I Group B will be played in a 4,000-seat arena in Odessa. The “pearl of the Black Sea” as the Ukrainian delegates called it was introduced to hockey only recently and the tournament should give another boost to the biggest coastal city of the country with one million inhabitants.

The events at the various levels went from cities like Asiago in Italy, Bled in Slovenia or the Latvian capital of Riga to hockey places outside of the traditional hockey countries such as Abu Dhabi, Cape Town, Erzurum, Mexico City and Queenstown. The program also includes two new countries joining the program with Kuwait and Turkmenistan.

Click here for the full list.

MARTIN MERK

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