Category: Tournaments (page 1 of 5)

Mason Raymond Scores Twice to Give Canada Bronze at Sochi Open

By Steven Ellis – Eurohockey.com

Team Canada has won a bronze in their first tournament of the Olympic season, defeating Metallurg Magnitogorsk by a score of 3-1 on Wednesday evening at the Sochi Hockey Open.

A power play opportunity at the halfway point in the first period allowed Canada to take the first lead. At 11:26, Mason Raymond tapped in a goal short side on Vasily Koshechkin after some great passes between Gilbert Brule and Andrew Ebbett. It was a big goal for Raymond, who only played four professional games last year after starting the season with the Anaheim Ducks. Raymond did, however, represent Canada at the Spengler Cup, potting six points in five games to help Canada win their second straight tournament.

Canada, however, wouldn’t hold on the lead for long. Defenseman Sergej Tereshchenko, who isn’t really known for offensive exploits, made it 1-1 after taking a Denis Denisov pass from the point and wiring it past Justin Peters, tying the game up at one apiece just 6:55 into the second period.

Raymond was often criticized for his inconsistent play in the NHL, bumping around multiple teams before landing with SC Bern for the upcoming season. But his second goal of the night was not to be missed after picking the puck up behind the net on his blade and sliding it top corner while still behind the goal line in a lacrosse-style move. Justin Azevedo would score an empty netter, but it would be Raymond’s goal that would result in a bronze medal for the two-time defending Olympic champions.

Canada will bring a mostly-different roster to the Nikolai Puchkov Tournament, which begins in Russia next week. It’s one of many tournaments Canada will take part in as the team looks to prepare to an Olympic tournament with no NHLers.

 

Israel going big

By Martin Merk – IIHF.com

Ice hockey in Israel is usually played at small rinks, forcing the national team to have to compete abroad. But this year, at the ice hockey tournaments of the 20th Maccabiah Games, the Israelis will get to compete on a regulation-sized ice rink, installed in the Pais Arena in Jerusalem.

The arena in the southwest of the holy city is normally used as the home of the Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team with a capacity for 11,600 spectators and for concerts. With the bigger field of play in ice hockey the organizers expect a capacity for 10,000. That’s a sharp contrast to what players in Israel have been used to since the opening of the first ice rink in 1986.

The Maccabiah Games, sometimes described as the “Jewish Olympics”, are a multi-sport event held every four years in Israel with Jewish athletes representing the different countries they come from, dating back to 1932. 10,000 athletes from 80 countries in 47 sports are expected to compete this month in Israel. Ice hockey was played twice before, in 1997 and at the most recent edition in 2013 in Metulla.

Despite being in a warm country with a large area covered by desert and the thermometer expected to hit 37°C in Jerusalem today, ice hockey is not totally unknown in Israel but still rather exotic for the average Israeli.

“We have approximately 800 ice hockey players and four leagues,” says Lihu Ichilov, the General Secretary of the Ice Hockey Federation of Israel, who has been involved in the sport for 27 years, basically since its beginning in Israel. Ten teams play in the men’s A league, 14 in the B league, 10 in the U20 league and 15 in the U18 league.

While there’s no women’s hockey competition, 28 female players compete in boys’ leagues and can be two years over the boys’ age limit.

“Most of the games are played in Holon because most of the teams are based in central Israel. And then we have a rink in Metulla in the north. In Holon they can play ice hockey from 6 to 8 in the morning and from 8 in the evening to 2am after midnight. It’s crazy – but we love it!” Ichilov says. “There’s no tribune but whenever we have games, the rink is packed with 300-500 people standing around, which is the full capacity.”

While the rink in Metulla, a city in the north partly surrounded by Lebanon, is full size, the one in Holon, a city of 190,000 inhabitants a few kilometres away from Tel Aviv, is about half the size, 900 square metres, and opened in 2013. And there is an even smaller one in Ma’alot.

“Hopefully in two years we will have an Olympic-size rink attached to the current rink in Holon. The owner is working on it and the plans have been submitted to the municipality. This will sort out all our problems and increase the development to unbelievable stages,” Ichilov says. It would not only be full size but also have a capacity for at least 5,000 spectators according to him.

Israel has less experience playing at home than other countries competing at Division II level. In 1996 Israel played a qualification game for the 1998 Olympics in Metulla. They lost 10-2 to Greece but that game was eventually declared a 5-0 victory for Israel because Greece used ineligible players. Israel advanced but lost in the following round. In 2006 the IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division III was planned in Metulla but was eventually moved to Romania due to security concerns caused by tensions at the Israeli-Lebanese border that eventually led to a war later that year and the evacuation of the population.

Having played at many international-size arenas abroad, culminating with a Division I participation in 2006 in Amiens, France, the Israelis can now get the experience of a top-notch arena at home with the rink installed in Jerusalem.

“Everybody is excited. Not only us but everybody involved in sport. They come and see the arena and can’t believe. They used to go there for basketball and now it’s ice there. And for our team it’s exciting to play an international event at home against teams from other countries with six nations involved,” Ichilov says. “I hope between 2,500 and 5,000 people will come for the bigger games but the organizers are even more optimistic and hope for 8,000 spectators.”

Similar to the IIHF at Olympic tournaments, the Ice Hockey Federation of Israel is setting up the competitions at the Maccabiah Games with the arrangements for the teams, paperwork, schedules and officials.

The games are played in a city that has never seen ice hockey before, although there is a team with players originally coming from inline hockey that was founded in Jerusalem but plays at the other rinks and even made its way up to the Senior A league two years ago.

The North American Maccabiah teams were pushing to have the event in Jerusalem rather than in the remote north. This eventually led to discussions with the mayor of Jerusalem and IHFI President Evgeni Gusev to make the dream come true.

“The rink was bought from an Austrian company. It’s just a shame that it will finish in a warehouse waiting to be requested again. But I have the feeling they will build it up every year in summer,” says Ichilov.

Three ice hockey tournaments will take place at the Maccabiah Games that are played from 4 to 18 July – except on Saturdays, or Sabbath, when the Jewish part of Jerusalem seems to come to a standstill. The men’s teams play in the Open Tournament that includes Canada, Germany, Israel, Russia and the Unites States. The Masters Tournament for players over 40 includes Canada, Israel, Ukraine and the United States. And the U18 tournament is played with teams from Canada, Israel and the United States.

The Canadian Jews have been most successful at the last edition with famous coaches behind the bench: Guy Carbonneau at the men’s team and Jacques Demers in the over-40 category.

Israel will play with its regular players from IIHF events in the Maccabiah Games although not all of them will be able to come. “This will give a chance to younger players,” Ichilov said. “But it’s a minimum AAA and college players who come for Canada and the U.S. We don’t have any thoughts about them, we will fight, but it will be very difficult to compete with them. Our players are either students, in the army or working for their living,” he says.

The national team has had its ups and downs in the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship program. Peaking at the 28th-place finish in 2006, it went down to 41st in 2011. Currently Israel is 35th in the 2017 IIHF Men’s World Ranking.

“During the last three years the national team has gone from strength to strength,” he says and explains the history of hockey in Israel that has started by immigrants from North America and the Soviet Union.

“Before the immigration came, you could only see hockey on television. There was no hockey ever played. They used to skate on rollers but there was no inline hockey, no ice hockey,” he says. “Half of the population in Israel is immigrants.”

The many players born outside of Israel also made it difficult for them to become eligible to represent Israel internationally. Today Ichilov thinks that maybe a quarter of the 800 players was born outside of Israel.

“What we see now is a second generation to those who started hockey in Israel. In the Maccabiah Games we will see a few fathers in the veteran tournament whose kids are playing on the U20 or U18 national team,” he adds.

While most players from the recent Israeli men’s national team joined from local clubs, some try their luck abroad.

Eliezer Sherbatov is probably the most famous of them. Born in Israel and playing in Metulla, the forward born to Russian Jews went to North America and made it to the top level in Canadian junior hockey playing in the QMJHL. He then became a professional player in France and Kazakhstan.

One issue that has made development different was serving three years in the army. With the creation of the U20 team, an age group that used to have a lack in players due to the military service, the federation now aims at better conditions with delayed service or an athlete status at the army.

Roey Aharonovich and Yuval Rosenthal are two players who got the permission to delay the military service because they count as elite sports athlete under contract abroad. After leaving his hometown team Rishon, Aharonovich played junior hockey in the United States and will start college hockey at NCAA Division III level at the Neumann University. Rosenthal played junior hockey in Canada and is now with the Colorado State University.

The federation hopes that Ariel Kapulkin will also be granted a delay after having played junior hockey in the U.S.

“This is the reason that we have started two years ago to build up the U20 national team. The team consists of players who are due to go to the army. Once they finish high school, they have to go three years to the army. For those on the U20 national team we apply to be an active athlete in the army. Then they are given 90 days a year to go to camps and championships,” Ichilov explains.

Trying to combine the army and hockey is one aspect to improve the development of players, the other is grassroots hockey.

“There has been a lot of the development in the past four years. The current board of directors has been doing tremendous work in the development and with Gusin at the head I can say it’s something that hasn’t been done like that before. These are people who really think about the game and how to develop it, how to get youngsters involved and I’m sure it will go on like that,” he says. “We also have a development committee that is working in close relations with the IIHF and takes part in the camps. We started now to make our own courses for officials and start at a young age. We motivate former players to join as referees or administrators.”

The experience of organizing an international event at a big arena is one that Ichilov hopes to translate to IIHF hockey as well. The Ice Hockey Federation of Israel applied to host the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division II Group B in the same arena in Jerusalem but uncertainty about the dates and availability didn’t help in the vote. The tournament was eventually awarded to Spain.

“We have the support from the government to hold an IIHF event but we didn’t have the rink for that time. It’s difficult because it’s the biggest arena for basketball and the season doesn’t end before May. So it would have been impossible to get it earlier. But hopefully we can hold an IIHF event in Holon when we have the new rink in two years,” he says.

But first it’s time for Maccabiah ice hockey at the cool arena during the summer heat in Jerusalem. The men’s final on 15th July, which Ichilov predicts to be a Canada vs. USA game again, will be broadcast live on Israeli TV channel Sport5. Once the tournament is over, the arena is set to stay for public skating and ice shows before it will be dismantled.

Mexico Wins First Ever Ice Hockey Gold at Pan-Am

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By Steve Ellis – Eurohockey. com

On the night of game six of the Stanley Cup finals, Mexico managed to finally secure their very first gold medal after beating Colombia 1-0 on home ice at the fourth Pan-American Ice Hockey Games.

Mexico was hungry to score the first goal of the contest after a dominant tournament from the start. In the past three tournaments, Mexico failed to take home the gold medal, including the past two years when Colombia took the victory.

In the dying minutes of the first, Mexico struck first. After countless opportunities in the opening period, Adrian Padilla made it 1-0 after staying close around the net and knocking in a rebound past Zack Frost, giving the hosts the advantage heading into the second frame. It turned out to be the only goal the team would need, defeating Colombia for their first ever gold medal, not only at the Pan-Am, but in men’s ice hockey competition.

The win capped off a perfect tournament for Mexico, who won all six games en route to a gold medal. The win comes after two straight losses to Colombia in the finals and a big defeat at the hands of Canada back in 2014, which resulted in silver medals all three years.

Earlier in the day, Argentina, who won just one previous game at the tournament this year, pulled off a 6-1 win over Mexico’s U18 team to secure their first medal. It was just their third win ever in hockey competition after beating Brazil 5-3 in 2014 and Chile 26-0 to start the tournament this year.

Shutouts Spotlight the Action in Mexico Day Five

By Steve Ellis – Euro hockey.com

Shutouts by Colombia and Brazil start action on Friday at the Pan-Am Ice Hockey Games.

 Colombia B 5, Argentina B 0

A dominant effort on Friday has given Colombia’s B team their first win of the 2017 Pan-American Ice Hockey Games thanks to a 5-0 victory over Argentina’s B team.

It has been a rough tournament for Colombia Rojo, who have seen their A team counterparts win all their games so far. For Colombia, the team knew that Argentina’s B team would be their best bet in the tournament after losing twice to Brazil’s top squad.

So far, Pablo Llinas has been Colombia’s top forward with two goals. Josafat Triana is the only other skater with two points, while William Martinez, Nestor Rojas and Kelsey Murkin have all contributed goals.

Brazil A 16, Brazil B 0

Brazil’s fifth victory ever was their biggest in their short history in ice hockey, but it came at the expense of their weaker team, Brazil B.

it was the second straight shutout for Brazil, who defeated Colombia B 7-0 on Thursday. Andreas Diego Mindell has been very strong for Brazil, posting four goals and four assists for eight points. Bruno Gomes has also  been tremendous, putting up three goals and three assists, while Gustavo Tecchio has five points from the blue line. Brazil won’t have any time to rest as they’ll face Argentina B later in the day. Brazil has two games still left to play, with Chile and Argentina B on tap before the medal round on Sunday.

Colombia B 6, Chile 0

For the second time in a few hour span, Colombia’s B team finished with a shutout.

This time, it came at the hands of Chile, who won their very first two games on Thursday. For Colombia, it gave them hope that they could grab another win on the weekend, but with just two wins overall.

Brazil B 3, Argentina B 2

Brazil’s B team became the final team to win a game at the Pan-Am tournament, defeating Argentina’s B team 3-2.

It was the second loss of the day for Argentina’s B team, who have yet to win in three playoff games. Their only win came on day one when they beat Brazil’s B team 6-1, struggling to score ever since.

Mexico B 2, Argentina 1

Mexico B grabbed their first victory of the second round to tie them with Mexico and Colombia for first in the second round.  

Mexico only has two goals in the final round after getting shutout in their first game. The win did put them ahead of Argentina, who sit fourth in the final round after losing both of their opening games. 

Mexico  2, Colombia 1

Mexico win a close encounter with the defending champions to remain in first place. Mexico has only given up one goal in the second round.

Colombia and Brazil Look Good, Chile Makes History Day Four

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By Steve Ellis – Eurohockey.com

Colombia A 6, Mexico B 0

Two-time defending champions Colombia began the playoff round at the Pan-American Ice Hockey Games with a 6-0 win over Mexico’s B team, keeping them in perfect standing after three contests.

The team has been dominant from the get go, beating Brazil’s B team 11-0 before tackling Argentina’s B team 8-1. The team will face Chile tomorrow afternoon in what should be a lopsided match before tackling Mexico in a big heavyweight battle on Friday night.

Chile 6, Brazil B 0

In a shocking result, Chile has won their first ever ice hockey game in just their third attempt after beating Brazil’s B team 6-0.

Carlos Valdebenito was the star for Chile, scoring three goals and adding an assist for a team that had yet to score in any previous contest. Cristobal Vega, Miguel Villarroel and Stephane Binnebeek all contributed goals for the team that had only nine players on the roster.

The win is the first ever for Chile, who The Chilean Ice and Inline Hockey Federation was joined the IIHF in 2000, becoming the third South American country to do so. The country currently has three ice rinks, with Punta Arenas playing host to the annual Copa Invernada tournament each July. The team does participate in IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship and FIRS Inline Hockey World Championship tournaments, but had never played in an international hockey event until this week.

The win came during the first day of playoff action at the Pan-Am tournament, with Chile playing a second game against Argentina later in the day.

To watch the game in it’s entirety, click here.

Brazil A 7, Colombia B 0

Brazil’s top team now has two wins at the Pan-Am tournament after defeating Colombia 7-0 on Thursday.

It was a big win for Brazil, who now have four wins in the history of their country. It was the second straight win for Brazil over Colombia Rojo, who they beat 4-1 a day before. Brazil’s only loss to date came on Tuesday after the team lost a 2-1 thriller to Mexico’s B squad.

Brazil will now look towards playing their friends, Brazil B, before facing both Chile and Argentina B on Saturday and Sunday.

Chile 4, Argentina B 3

Thursday was an incredible day for Chile, who pulled off a thrilling 4-3 victory over Argentina later in the morning.

For Chile, winning two games against more established nations despite having a smaller roster proves that the team is starting to truly work well together. Argentina’s loss was a disappointing one for them, with their previous game resulting in an 8-1 defeat to the hands of Colombia. They did score a victory earlier in the tournament, beating Brazil’s B team 6-1, but couldn’t overcome Chile on Thursday.

Mexico 9,  Argentina 0

In the last game of night Mexico moved into first place with an easy win over there rivals Argentina. 

Pan-Am: Brazil, Mexico and Colombia Victorious on Day Three

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By Steven Ellis Eurohockey.com

Colombia A 8, Argentina B 1

One of the pre-tournament favourites, Colombia, will finish the preliminary round with an 8-1 victory over Argentina B on Wednesday afternoon.

Nathan Jones was the star of the opening round of the tournament, scoring an extra goal to go on top of the four goal game on Monday. Alejandro Villalon and Kevin Medina had three markers each while Juan Diego Fierro scored four goals and an assist. 

Argentina finished the opening round with a win and a loss, having beaten Brazil’s B team 6-1 on Tuesday. 

Brazil A 4, Colombia B 1

For just the third time in the history of their team, Brazil was victorious on the ice after beating Colombia’s B squad 4-1.

Luis Custodio, Joao Vasconcelos, Henrique Deganoi and Daniel Vannuchi all scored for Brazil, giving the team five different goal scorers for five goals over two games. Allen Ruane was strong in both performances, allowing just three goals for a team that’s hoping to improve on a previous bronze medal performance.

Colombia’s opening round was tough, with the team recording just a single goal. An individual effort by Kelsey Murkin provided to be the team’s only goal in two games of action, while the squad allowed 11 goals.

Mexico A 5, Argentina A 0

In the final game of the round robin, Mexico’s top team finished with a 5-0 victory over Argentina on Wednesday.

Star player Carlos Gomez finished the preliminary round as Mexico’s best player, posting three goals and four assists for seven points. Guillermo Martinez and Jorge Perez Luethje scored three goals each, while defenseman Thomas Giorgi had four goals and two assists.

In two previous meetings at the Pan-Am, Mexico took home 9-1 and 10-1 victories, meaning that the loss on Wednesday was the closest Argentina has been when facing the Division IIB World Championship team.

Pan-Am: Argentina Wins Big, Mexico Sweeps on Day 2

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By Steve Ellis – Eurohockey.com

Brazil lost both games they took part in as Argentina and Mexico swept their games on Tuesday.

Argentina B 6, Brazil B 1

Argentina’s B team has secured their first win of the 2017 Pan-American Ice Hockey Tournament with a victory over Brazil’s B squad on Tuesday.

The game started well for Argentina, who controlled most of the early pressure. Eventually, the team’s hard work paid off with the first goal of the game coming midway through the first period. 

But Brazil wasn’t interested in trailing for long. Mauro Bontempo De Souza would score the first goal for the Brazilians, but Argentina would score less than a minute later to take the 2-1 lead. They’d extend their lead even further in the final minute of the third, using relentless pressure to take the two-goal advantage into the middle frame. Argentina would score three more in the third to finish off the 6-1 victory, starting their tournament on a high note.

Mexico B 2, Brazil A 1

Mexico’s B squad has taken their first win of the tournament following a 2-1 win in a thriller against Brazil A.

The story of the game was Allen Edgard Ruane in net for Brazil. A veteran for the Brazilian national team, Ruane was a popular player after making stops on all of Mexico’s top stars, showing great speed with his leg movement. Unfortunately for the team, a chance by Mexico would give the team the lead halfway through the game, putting the hosts back on top.

But minutes later, Gustavo Tecchio made it 1-1. Tecchio kept his country in the game by receiving a pass in close and jamming it past Mexico’s netminder, knotting the contest up at one apiece.

Mexico, using their second best team at the tournament, came in as underdogs, but came out on top thanks to a third period goal. Ruane wasn’t able to stop everything despite a magnificent performance, as eventually Mexico found a way past him late in the game to take the 2-1 lead and take the victory in the process.

Mexico A 17, Chile 0

In what could have ended up being the most one-sided game of the tournament, Mexico’s A squad defeated Chile by a score of 17-0 to end off action on Tuesday.

Guillermo Martinez and Jorge Luethje led the way with three goals each, while both Carlos Eduardo Gomez Lopez and Santiago Sierra Sanchez Medal posted two goals and two assists each.

It was a game where people expected a much higher deficit, especially after Argentina beat Chile’s nine players by a score of 26-0 on opening day. Mexico perhaps was not playing at full strength, but are looking forward to their final pre-tournament game against Argentina on Wednesday evening.

Pan-Am: Argentina, Colombia and Mexico Score Shutouts on Day One

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By Steve Ellis – Eurohockey.com

Argentina scored just their second ever victory and Colombia started their tournament with a big victory at the 2017 Pan-American Ice Hockey Games.

Argentina 26, Chile 0

In Chile’s very first ice hockey game, Argentina’s top team managed to record the biggest victory in the four year history of the Pan-American Ice Hockey Games with a 26-0 win to begin the 2017 tournament.

The win was a historic one, and not just for the score. The match was the first ever that Chile played in an international tournament, with the team expected to show growing pains in their inaugural event. The Chilean Ice and Inline Hockey Federation was joined the IIHF in 2000, becoming the third South American country to do so. The country currently has three ice rinks, with Punta Arenas playing host to the annual Copa Invernada tournament each July.

With the win, Argentina put themselves in the history book with the biggest victory ever at the tournament. Previously, Mexico beat Argentina’s B team 19-0 in 2015, which was the biggest victory ever until today. Argentina has only won one previous game against other nations, having beaten Brazil in the inaugural Pan-American tournament in 2014.

Colombia 11, Brazil B 0

In a meeting of last year’s champions and Brazil’s second best team, Colombia managed to take an easy 11-0 victory to start off their tournament.

Nathan Jones was the star of the game, posting four of the team’s 11 goals. Juan Diego Fierro and Kevin Medina and scored twice to add to the score sheet while Alejandro Villalon, Felipe Sanchez and Nicolas Fierro scored a goal each. Zack Frost posted a shutout in the game, with Colombia taking a victory in a game they expected to win from the start.

Mexico B 7, Colombia B 0

In the first game of Group C action, Mexico finished off a perfect day for winning teams at the Pan-Am tournament with the third consecutive shutout.

Mexico was dominant from the start, taking a 3-0 lead early on. The team kept the battle rolling with three more goals in the second, allowing just one shot in the first 17 minutes of the middle frame. The Mexicans would add an extra marker in the third, scoring seven times to take the 7-0 win.

Kuwait Wins DI Challenge Cup of Asia After 13-0 Win

By Steve Ellis – Eurohockey.com

Kuwait easily won the gold medal at the 2017 Division I Challenge Cup of Asia event, beating Oman 13-0 in the final game.

It was an easy game from start to finish, with Kuwait taking a 5-0 lead after 20 minutes of play. Ahmad Al Ajmi scored three of his five goals in the opening frame, eventually earning the top player award for the game. Al Ajmi was also named tournament MVP thanks to posting 11 goals and 17 points in just three games for Kuwait.

Abdulaziz Sheftail was also on top of his game, scoring twice and adding four assists to finish with six points on the night.

Jasem Al Sarraf stopped all 16 shots he faced, resulting in a perfect 2-0 record with no goals allowed on 24 shots overall.

Kuwait was able to secure their second gold medal at the Division I tournament, with the team beating Singapore to win gold back in 2015. India managed to come second place while Oman finished third and Macau came last with zero points.

 

منتخب الكويت لهوكي الجليد يحرز كأس اسيا ٢٠١٧🏆🥇🏒🥅 Kuwait national ice hockey team 🏆🥇🏒🥅

A post shared by نادي الألعاب الشتوية الكويتي (@kuwait_wgc) on

Countries hoping for 2018 IIHF World Championships qualification head to Kiev

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By George Thorpe – Inside The Games

Teams will be looking to qualify for next year’s International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships when the Division I competition starts in Kiev tomorrow.

The top two teams from Group A in the round robin contest taking place in the Ukrainian capital will progress to the 2018 edition of the top tournament in the sport, which will be hosted in Denmark.

All the matches will be played at the Palace of Sports with the competition set to go on until April 28.

Action will start with the hosts taking on Hungary before South Korea face Poland.

The opening day’s matches will be completed with Austria taking on Kazakhstan.

Slovenia and Italy were the teams who earned spots at the World Championships after topping the group in Poland.

Alongside this contest, the Division’s Group B will also be taking place at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland, with the top side earning promotion to Group A.

The opening game will take place on Sunday (April 23) with The Netherlands meeting Japan.

Hosts Great Britain will be next on the ice as they take on Croatia before Estonia face Lithuania in the day’s final game.

Matches will continue in the group until April 29.

The lowest ranked team from Group A will be relegated to B, while the last placed country from the latter will head to Division Two A.

Next year’s line up in Division One will be completed by the two sides who finish last in the groups in the main World Championships, which are due to take place in Germany and France from May 5 to 21.

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