Kazakhstan, Japan get top events
by Martin Merk|18 MAY 2018
The Barys Arena during its opening in August 2015.
photo: Barys Astana
The 2018 IIHF Annual Congress did not allocate the top-level IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship this year because the Worlds in 2021 and 2022 have been allocated last year. But there were other events that got their hosts on Friday morning as well as the prolongation of the hosting and marketing contract of the IIHF World Junior Championship.

The 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship will be held as planned in Bratislava and Kosice, Slovakia, from 10-26 May 2019. The following editions will be in Zurich & Lausanne (Switzerland) in 2020, Minsk (Belarus) & Riga (Latvia) in 2021 and in Tampere & Helsinki (Finland) in 2022.

Now it’s also known where the second-tier teams will play for promotion. The 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A will take place in Astana. It will be the strongest international ice hockey tournament to be held in Kazakhstan for many years. Astana is known as the youngest modern capital city in the world and became Kazakhstan’s capital in 1997. Slovenia withdrew its bid for Ljubljana.

The dates will be 29 April to 5 May 2019 and the teams playing for promotion will be Belarus, Korea, Kazakhstan, Hungary, Slovenia and Lithuania. The top-two teams of the event will be promoted to the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Switzerland.

The Barys Arena was built in 2015 and with 12,000 seats became the first arena of that size in the country. It has 14 dressing rooms and an additional practice rink. The palace for Kazakhstan is home to KHL team Barys Astana.

Visitors from 60 countries including all participating countries do not need a visa for Kazakhstan for a stay of up to 30 days. For details on visa-free entry check with the embassy of Kazakhstan responsible for your country.

One tier below the Division I Group B with Poland, Japan, Estonia, Ukraine, Romania and the Netherlands will be played in the Estonian capital of Tallinn in the 7,700-seat Tondiraba Ice Hall. The tournament will be held 28 April to 4 May 2019.

The arena opened in 2014, recently hosted the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division II Group A as well as games of the Russian-based KHL and the Finnish Liiga in the past two seasons.

Beside the Worlds in Slovakia also most of the other top-division tournaments for next year have been allocated in previous years. The top U20 national teams of the world will play the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship in Vancouver and Victoria in the province of British Columbia in western Canada from 26 December 2018 to 5 January 2019. The Division I Group A tournament will be held in Fussen, Germany, 9-15 December and the Group B in Tychy, Poland, 8-14 December.

The Annual Congress unanimously ratified the extension of the hosting and marketing agreement for the IIHF World Junior Championship with Hockey Canada until 2031 that will bring substantial revenues to international ice hockey and the participating teams thanks to hosting the event regularly in Canada with the immense popularity of the event that starts annually one day after Christmas.

After next year in Canada it will be the Czech cities of Ostrava and Trinec that will host the 2020 World Juniors. Canada will host in 2021, 2024, 2026, 2028 and 2031 in cities to be determined. In the other years the event will be organized by other participating countries from Europe and the United States. For 2022 it will be Sweden’s turn while the 2023 World Juniors are planned in Russia with Novosibirsk as host. According to the agreement Canada will also host the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in 2020, 2023 and 2027.

The top male U18 teams will play the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship in Ornskoldsvik and Umea, 18-28 April 2019 while the Division I Group A was assigned to Grenoble, France, 14-20 April 2019 and the Group B at the same dates in Szekesfehervar, Hungary.

The 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship will for the first time be played with ten teams and host country Finland has today chosen Espoo close to the capital of Helsinki as venue. The proposed dates are 4-14 April 2019.

USA, Canada, Finland, Russia and Switzerland will play in the “upper” Group A of the two-tiered tournament while Sweden, Japan, Germany, the Czech Republic and France will play in Group B.

The Division I Group A tournament will be held in the Hungarian capital of Budapest 7-13 April 2019 and the Division I Group B in the Chinese capital of Beijing 6-12 April 2019.

The 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship will for the first time be held in Japan, which earned promotion to the top division last winter.

The eight teams will play in Obihiro on the northern island of Hokkaido. The venue is in a sport district with many facilities including two ice rinks. The Division I Group A will be held in Radenthein, Austria, 7-13 January 2019; and the Group B in Dumfries, Great Britain, 6-12 January 2019.

The new season in the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship program will include 31 tournaments in five categories and at different levels.

The program also includes new teams. Thailand and Kyrgyzstan will join the World Championship program for the first time with a men’s team while the Ukrainian women’s national team will have its premier next year. Luxembourg will send an U18 national team for the first time while Korea and Chinese Taipei will enter the U18 women’s category.

Click here for the full list of tournaments, participants and hosts.