ZURICH Ė The game schedule for the 2012 IIHF World Championship in Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden (May 4-20, 2012) has been announced by the IIHF. USA will play France in the opening game of the 76th IIHF World Championship in Helsinki, while defending World Champion Finland will meet Belarus on the same day in the evening game.
Click here for the schedule in English / Finnish / Swedish.
The opening game in Stockholm will feature Germany against newly promoted Italy, while 2011 silver medallist Sweden will face Norway in the evening game.
It will be the first time in modern history that the menís IIHF World Championship will be co-hosted by two countries. The IIHF announced the groups on May 18.
The Helsinki venue will be the 13,349-seat Hartwall Areena, while the games in Stockholm will be played at the 13,850-seat Ericsson Globe Arena.
The 2012 IIHF World Championship will also determine the countriesí seeding for the menís Olympic Ice Hockey tournament in Sochi 2014 and for all countries participating in the qualification program leading up to the Olympics.
The seeding will be determined by the IIHF World Ranking which will be established following the conclusion of the 2012 World Championship. The top nine menís teams from the 2012 IIHF World Ranking will earn direct entry to the 12-team 2014 Olympic ice hockey tournament.
The three remaining teams will be determined through a qualification process which will start in November 2012 and conclude with the three Final Olympic Qualification tournaments in February 2013. The winner of each Final Olympic Qualification will earn entry to Sochi 2014.
For more information on the 2012 IIHF World Championship, visit www.iihfworlds2012.com.