If you haven’t noticed a chill in the air blowing from Slovakia, we wouldn’t blame you. There’s been a hell of a lot of football action taking place over the last few days, so our attentions have been somewhat divided too. But you should probably take note that the 2019 Ice Hockey World Championship are well and truly underway.
Depending on where you’re geographically located, you could be a giant ice hockey fan or you might not have a breeze, other than seeing The Mighty Ducks every couple of years.
But trust us, it’s worth getting involved in the Ice Hockey World Championship action. It’s a fast-paced competition and is only just in the group stages, so there’s plenty of excitement to follow (and bet on) over the coming fortnight.
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This annual event is held by the International Ice Hockey Federation. It’s a mens-only international tournament and is the most hotly anticipated ice hockey event each year.
The first official Ice Hockey World Championship was held 99 years ago at the Belgian 1920 Summer Olympics. Ten years later, it split from its Olympic roots and was first held as an individual event.
There are six main teams that come tend to dominate the standings each year. Here they are, so you can pay close attention to how they play throughout this year’s games:
The 2019 Ice Hockey World Championship is being held in Slovakia, which is becoming a somewhat strong force on the ice in its own right.
There’s something of an unfortunate schedule clash that takes place at around this time of year. The Ice Hockey World Championship clash with the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup playoffs. Usually, if a team makes the playoffs, they’re not allowed to go play for their country. Having said that, even if your favourite players aren’t currently in the tournament, it’s not to say they will be missing the whole time. It’s relatively common for players to join the championship mid-way through as their teams are eliminated from the Stanley Cup.
The world’s top 16 teams are divided into two groups, based on their ranking in both the Olympics and the most recent World Championship.
Then they play each other in a preliminary round, which means each team plays seven times. The teams which finish in the top four in each group will ascend to the knockout quarter finals. Then the winning teams play each other in the semi-finals and then, those winning teams proceed to the finals.
There are quite a lot of games on today and some of them are promising to be crackers…
Group A matches 13 May
Group B matches 13 May
If you can manage to watch any of the 15:15 matches, we’d highly recommend it. All of the teams playing those matches are real titans, so we can only imagine there will be fireworks on the ice.
Meanwhile, if you’re curious later on this evening, don’t miss the game between Slovakia and Canada. Canada are true giants of the sport, but at the same time Slovakia will be playing to an enthusiastic home crowd. It’ll be very interesting to see how that plays out…
All teams have played a total of two games each so far in the 2019 Ice Hockey World Championship. Of course, they still all need to get five more games under the belt before the group stages are complete. But here are the teams with the highest number of points so far, with all five of these teams winning both of their matches in their stages and having six points each:
So the 2019 Ice Hockey World Championship group stages are running from now until 21 May. Then the quarter finals are taking place from 23 May. Things will really start heating up on 25 May, with the knockout semi-finals. And then on the 26 May, all eyes will be on the final.