The qualification phase is over, and 36 national champions have stepped forward and are ready to compete in the group stage of the 2022 IIHF eWorld Championship.
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On Saturday and Sunday, 18 countries split into four groups will face of for the right to advance to the quarter-finals. Each nation is represented by two national champions, competing in either the Playstation or Xbox division on the NHL 22™ game.
IIHF eWorlds Championship up for grabs
The IIHF launched its eSports commitment in 2020 with the Esports Fan Championship pilot project, that saw Finland crowned champion after an intense competition.
Two years later, the world ice hockey federation is once again inviting to dance on the virtual ice – this time with the all-new IIHF eWorld Championship.
Out of an initial pool of 22 nations that were invited to participate in the 2022 eWorlds, 18 moved on to the group stage. Four of the nations were unable to advance due to not having a complete team on both Xbox and Playstation.
These countries have now been split up into the group stage. Let’s take a look at the field.
Teams: Finland, Germany, Poland, Denmark, Hungary
Group A begins on Sunday at 4 PM (UTC). To kick things off, the 2020 winners will grab the controller: Finland faces Germany. The defending champions will ice another strong team featuring 2020 MVP Erik 'ENCEKI' Tammenpää, one of the best NHL™ 22 players in the world.
Poland, Denmark and Hungary are clear outsiders. The duel between Martin 'Venomenyce' Perenz and Germany should be particularly interesting. The 36-year-old plays for the Polish national team this year – while back in 2020 he represented Germany.
Teams: Canada, Latvia, Slovakia, Great Britain
Opening the group stage at 4 PM (UTC) on Saturday is Group B, which features Canada, Latvia, Slovakia and Great Britain.
The Canadians enter the tournament as co-favourites, featuring Sayed Safir 'SayedSnipezGOLD' Sodouri and Justin 'Regs84' Reguly.
Latvia will field exactly the same duo as in 2020 with Kristers 'chibra' Bauers and Joris 'snipencelly8' Lopatko. Sean 'Sean' McIntosh returns to Great Britain, Anton 'PowerBeton' Mesko from Slovakia was already part of the team two years ago – back then as 'Fenomen36363'.
Group C: US team seeks redemption
Teams: USA, Switzerland, France, Ukraine
Group C kicks off on Sunday starting at 5 PM (UTC). Team USA is hunting for retribution: in 2020, they were eliminated in the first round by Canada. David 'JrPens' Roebuck and Joseph 'Jos' Olmstead want to at least make the quarter-finals this time.
In their way are Switzerland, France and Ukraine. For the Swiss, Sven 'OriginaL-SnuS' Julmi is making his second appearance after 2020.
Ukraine and France, on the other hand, will celebrate their premiere at the IIHF eWorld Championship 2022, and are relatively unknowns but could shake things up in Group C.
Group D: Japan and Austria debut
Teams: Sweden, Czechia, Austria, Japan, Kazakhstan
On Saturday at 5 PM (UTC), Group D gets underway in the preliminary round – with the clash between Sweden and Czechia. Meanwhile, Austria, Japan and Kazakhstan are looking to trip the two major ice hockey nations up.
The 2020 runners-up, Sweden will rely on the proven team of Sebastian 'SebbeLarsen86' Larsen and Henrik 'eken45jr' Eklund. Czechia wants to counter with returnee Josef 'pepcastachurcik' Stachura, while Japan and Austria celebrate their IIHF Gaming premiere.
On the Twitch channel of the IIHF all groups will be shown live. Cameron 'NoSleeves' Halbert and Nick 'F5 Penguin' DiMeo will accompany the games.
There will also be regional streams: a Swedish stream on Saturday, a Finnish and a German stream on Sunday.
MAIN STREAM: https://www.twitch.tv/iihfhockey
Swedish-language stream: https://www.twitch.tv/esdor
Finnish-language stream: https://www.twitch.tv/sportsgamergg
German-language stream: https://www.twitch.tv/bl00dylp