Author: NationalTeamsOfIceHockey (Page 1 of 88)

Natalie Spooner: IIHF’s Female Player of the Year 2024

Canadian forward Natalie Spooner has earned the title of the International Ice Hockey Federation’s female player of the year for 2024. She won with 33.6 per cent of the votes from media in the top 16 IIHF Women’s World Championship nations. Natlie led in scoring with 20 goals and 27 points during the Professional Women’s Hockey League season for Toronto.

At 33, she showed her skill, winning the league MVP and top forward awards. She also helped Canada win gold at the women’s world championship in Utica, N.Y., with a goal and four points.

🇨🇦 Natalie Spooner Named 2024 IIHF Female Player Of The Year – International Hockey Lineal Championship

Natalie Spooner’s Outstanding Hockey Career

Natalie Spooner grew up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She showed amazing hockey skills from a young age. Her journey to professional hockey was driven by her talent and hard work. She’s a key player for Team Canada, winning gold at the Olympics and IIHF World Championship events.

Her love for the sport and her country has earned her high respect in women’s hockey. Fans worldwide see her as an inspiration.

Early Life and Journey to Professional Hockey

From her hometown of Toronto, Natalie started chasing her professional hockey dreams as a little girl. She was all about the game, working hard to reach international competitions like the Olympics and more.

Representing Canada at International Competitions

Natalie’s dedication to Team Canada shines in her remarkable career. She’s excelled at the Olympic Games and the IIHF Women’s World Championship. Fans and players everywhere respect her for her exceptional talent.

Natalie Spooner IIHF’s Female Player 2024

Natalie Spooner earned the 2024 IIHF Female Player title with top performances in the PWHL. This Canadian forward scored 20 goals and 27 points, leading the league. She was also awarded MVP and top forward.

Stellar Performance in the Professional Women’s Hockey League

In the PWHL, Spooner showed her strong offensive skills. She scored 20 goals, five of which were game-winners, in 24 games. Her great play and leadership helped her stand out in the league’s first season.

Contributions to Canada’s Gold Medal at World Championships

In the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championship, Spooner was a key player for Team Canada. She added one goal and three assists, helping Canada win gold. Her talent was crucial for the team’s victory, showing she’s an outstanding performer and inspiring role model.

Toronto forward Natalie Spooner voted IIHF top female hockey player for 2024 | CBC Sports

Skill Set That Sets Natalie Spooner Apart

Natalie Spooner shines in women’s ice hockey, thanks to her amazing skills. She has shown her ability to score goals well, leading the first season of the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL).

Offensive Prowess and Goal-Scoring Ability

During the PWHL’s first season, Spooner was a standout player. She scored 20 goals and gained 27 points, leading the league. These feats won her the MVP title and showed off her amazing goal-scoring skills at the top level of women’s hockey.

Leadership and Teamwork

Spooner is not only a great player but also a leader on and off the ice. Her role in the Canadian national team’s gold win at the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championship highlights her leadership. She motivates and works well with her teammates, making her key to the team’s success.

Impact on Women’s Ice Hockey

Natalie Spooner, as the IIHF’s Female Player of the Year 2024, changed the game. Her journey and achievements really helped women’s ice hockey grow. She motivates young girls to chase their ice hockey dreams.

Inspiring Young Female Athletes

Spooner reached the highest level by working hard and staying dedicated. Her success story is a model for young female athletes. It shows them they can do great things too. Being named the IIHF’s Female Player of the Year highlights her as a role model for upcoming female ice hockey stars.

Advocating for Gender Equality in Sports

Besides shining on the ice, Natalie Spooner fights for fairness in sports. She uses her fame to push for equal chances and resources for women athletes. Spooner’s work draws attention to women’s ice hockey, making sure it gets the support and attention it should.

Overcoming Challenges and Adversity

Natalie Spooner, the IIHF’s Female Player of the Year 2024, faced many challenges. This includes injuries and personal setbacks. Yet, her determination and resilience helped her overcome these obstacles.

Despite the journey’s ups and downs, Natalie Spooner stayed focused on excellence in women’s ice hockey. Her commitment to Team Canada and her sport led to her success. She became an Olympic gold medalist and a leader in the Professional Women’s Hockey League.

Natalie Spooner’s journey through tough times showed her true strength. She is now seen as one of the best female ice hockey players and an inspiration. Her story teaches us about perseverance and the importance of overcoming challenges to reach our goals.

Achievements and Accolades

Natalie Spooner is celebrated as a top female athlete. She holds many awards that prove she is among the best ice hockey players. Winning an Olympic gold medal with Team Canada highlights her career.

Olympic Gold Medalist

In 2014 Sochi and 2022 Beijing, Spooner won gold medals. She also got a silver medal in 2018 Pyeongchang. This shows her amazing skills in playing women’s ice hockey.

Multiple World Championship Titles

Spooner shined at the IIHF Women’s World Championship too. She won medals like a gold in 2021 and a silver in 2013. Also, she got bronzes in 2012, 2015, and 2019. Her constant success for Canada makes her a top player and as an sport ambassador.

Hockey Canada reveals roster set to defend gold at women's world championship in April | CBC Sports

Future Goals and Aspirations

Natalie Spooner aims for big things in her hockey career. She wants to keep up her top-notch play. And she plans to help the Toronto Six do well in the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF).

By working hard and staying dedicated, Spooner shows how much she loves women’s ice hockey. Her drive and commitment set an example for players everywhere.

Continuing to Excel in Professional Hockey

In the PHF’s first season, Spooner shined. She was named MVP and the best forward. This success pushes her to aim higher.

With the PHF becoming a key league in women’s hockey, Spooner wants to lead her team to victory. She dreams of inspiring new players along the way.

Mentoring and Coaching the Next Generation

After being named the IIHF’s Female Player of the Year in 2024, Spooner became more than a star. She became a role model for young, female hockey players.

She loves to help and teach young players. Through events like the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend, Spooner works to grow and diversify the sport. She wants to give more girls a chance to play.

Fans’ Reactions and Celebrations

Natalie Spooner being named the IIHF’s Female Player of the Year 2024 made her fans and many Canadian hockey lovers thrilled. They flooded social media with messages of praise and respect for Spooner. Her amazing achievements and her role as a role model for girls got a lot of attention.

Social Media Buzz and Tributes

Spooner’s fans shared their appreciation for her all over social media. They posted on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. They talked about her great play, her hard work, and her journey as a mom and player.

Many famous figures in Canadian hockey also praised Spooner. This includes players, coaches, and media people. They talked about her big impact on women’s hockey and celebrated her as a pioneer.

Impact on Canadian Hockey Culture

Spooner’s award is changing Canadian hockey. It’s making more people value women’s ice hockey in Canada. Her win, along with the start of the Professional Women’s Hockey League, is lifting the sport higher. It’s becoming a bigger part of Canada’s hockey world.

Girls who play hockey now look up to Spooner a lot. They see her as someone who made it because of hard work and love for the game. Her success is motivating young athletes. It proves that women’s ice hockey is full of talent and potential.

Balancing Athletic Career and Personal Life

Natalie Spooner, the IIHF’s Female Player of the Year 2024, shines in her sport. She balances her demanding hockey career with family life. Just over a year after becoming a mother, she joined the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL). Spooner’s ability to manage both worlds impresses her teammates greatly.

Motherhood and Family

Spooner, a 33-year-old forward, became a mother in 2022. She made family a top priority while excelling in hockey. Just four months after giving birth, she was back on the ice, and five months later, she won a silver medal with Team Canada. Her dedication and positive spirit inspire her teammates.

Advocacy and Philanthropic Efforts

Beyond sports, Natalie Spooner is a force for good. She advocates for important issues and gives back to her community. She’s not just a star on the ice; she’s also a role model. Her efforts to support the next generation of female athletes have earned her respect as a true leader.

Conclusion

Natalie Spooner is the IIHF’s Female Player of the Year 2024. She is known for her amazing talent and zeal in women’s ice hockey. Her top-notch play in the PWHL, her role in Canada’s gold win in world championships, and her journey set her high. She’s now ranked among the best female hockey players of her era.

Her wins brought not just personal glory but also boosted women’s hockey’s image. They encourage young female athletes to go after their hockey dreams. Even with a tough athletic career and being a mother, Spooner shines as an inspiring role model for upcoming hockey players.

As Spooner keeps shining in women’s ice hockey, her influence in the sport will only get stronger. She motivates young Canadian players to take up her example. Her story shows the value of hard work, focus, and the drive for excellence, both in the game and in life.

Roman Cervenka Named 2024 IIHF Male Player of the Year

In 2024, the IIHF named Czechia’s Roman Cervenka the top male player. He snagged this title by a whisker over Swiss defender Roman Josi. The vote drew over 100 media folks from 22 top nations in the Men’s World Championship.

Cervenka won with 31.3 percent of the vote, just edging out Josi who got 30.3 percent. It was a neck-and-neck finish that had everyone on the edge of their seats.

Roman Cervenka

Czechia Captain Roman Cervenka has been named IIHF Male Player 2024

At 38, Czechia captain Roman Cervenka led his team to a gold medal. This was at the Men’s World Championship. He shined, tying for sixth in points. He had 11 points and a +7 rating.

During the game against the USA, he was key. He helped his team win 1-0, reducing the USA’s chances.

In his games for Rapperswil in Switzerland, Cervenka did great. He scored 40 points in 47 games. This included 12 goals and 28 assists.

Cervenka’s Remarkable Performance at the World Championships

Leading Czechia to Gold

At just 38 years old, Roman Cervenka led Czechia to win the Men’s World Championship. His leadership and deep experience played a key role in this win.

Standout Moments and Stats

Cervenka stood out at the championship, ranking sixth in scoring. He got 11 points and had a +7 rating. In a crucial game against the USA, he was among the top three players. He helped Czechia close the game with a 1-0 win with his assist.

Throughout the Men’s World Championship, Cervenka showed his consistent high level of play. He demonstrated his leadership and elite skills on the ice. Being a key player in top moments proved his experience and talent.

Cervenka’s performance at the 2024 Men’s World Championship marked him as a top international player in hockey. His leadership, skill, and important moments in games helped Czechia go for the gold. It further proved he’s a major Czech hockey figure.

Domestic Success: Cervenka’s Club Season

Roman Cervenka led the Czechia national team to victory at the Men’s World Championship. He earned the IIHF Male Player of the Year award for this. But, his work with Rapperswil-Jona in Switzerland is also praised. In 47 games for his club, he scored 40 points. This included 12 goals and 28 assists, making him the top scorer.

Rapperswil-Jona’s Top Scorer

His success in both the domestic and international leagues shows his great skills. Cervenka helped Czechia win gold and proved himself in the Swiss league too. This shows he’s one of the best players in the sport today.

Voting Process and Contenders

In 2024, Roman Cervenka from Czechia won the IIHF Male Player of the Year. He beat Roman Josi by a small margin. The vote had over 100 media reps from the top 22 nations at the Men’s World Championship program. Cervenka got 31.3 percent, while Josi got 30.3 percent.

Narrow Victory over Roman Josi

The vote was very close, showing how well Cervenka and Josi did in 2024. Cervenka played a big role in Czechia winning the gold at the Men’s World Championship. He got 11 points and a +7 rating, tying for sixth in the tournament’s scoring.

Other Finalists

In 2024, the finalists were Roman Cervenka and Lukas Dostal from Czech Republic, Kevin Fiala and Roman Josi from Switzerland, Erik Karlsson from Sweden, and John Tavares from Canada. Dostal had a great season with three shutouts and a 6-2 record, including the Gold-Medal Game. Fiala ranked 43rd in NHL scoring with 73 points, while Josi was third for defensemen in the NHL’s scoring with 85 points. Karlsson got 11 points in the Men’s Worlds and 56 with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Tavares also scored 11 points and led the Toronto Maple Leafs to 29 goals and 65 points.

Cervenka’s Decorated International Career

Roman Cervenka leads with his experience in the Czech national team. He’s achieved a lot in over ten years on the international scene. Cervenka now has a total of four medals in the World Championships, with two Golds and two Bronzes (2011, 2022). He got his first medal, a Bronze, back in 2005 at the World Juniors.

Moreover, Cervenka has played in four different Olympics and one World Cup Of Hockey. His leadership shows in his team’s achievements, making him a key player.

Previous World Championship Medals

Cervenka excels at the IIHF World Championships. He’s grabbed two Golds among his four medals (including 2011 and 2022 Bronzes). This shows how consistently strong he is when playing for his country at the highest level.

Olympic and World Cup Appearances

Not only has Cervenka shined at the World Championships, but he’s also shown up at four Olympics and the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. With such broad international experience, he’s clearly a significant part of the Czech Republic’s ice hockey success. Cervenka’s leadership continues to guide his team towards victory.

Recognition for Defensive and Goaltending Excellence

Roman Cervenka shined as Czechia’s captain and top scorer at the 2024 Men’s World Championship. He won the IIHF Male Player of the Year. Many other players showed great skills too.

Roman Josi’s Silver Medal Performance

Swiss defenseman Roman Josi helped his team to a silver medal. It was their third in 11 years. He was known for his great defense. Josi made the World Championships All-Star Team. He ranked 3rd in scoring for NHL defensemen in the 2023-24 season. He had 85 points playing for the Nashville Predators.

Lukas Dostal’s Standout Goaltending

Lukas Dostal (G, CZE) showed amazing skills for Czechia in the World Championships. He won the WM Directorate Best Goalie award. Dostal was in the All-Star Team too. He had a 6-2 record with three shutouts. His saves were crucial in the quarter-finals and Gold-Medal Game. In his first year in the NHL, he had a .902 save percentage.

Impact of Cervenka’s Leadership

Roman Cervenka, at 38, led the Czechia national team to gold at the 2024 IIHF Men’s World Championship. His role as captain was huge. His experience inspired his team to shine at the global level.

Inspiring Czechia’s Success

Cervenka’s leadership was vital for Czechia’s win. With his skills and dedication, he showed the way. He helped the team beat strong rivals and clinch the gold. His 11 points and a +7 rating in the tournament highlighted his key part in their success.

One key moment was in the quarterfinals against Team USA. He was crucial in the 1-0 win, adding an assist. His leadership and in-game moves were pivotal in Czechia’s victory.

Significance of the IIHF Male Player of the Year Award

The IIHF Male Player of the Year award is very prestigious. It’s given to the top male ice hockey player from around the world. Players are eligible if they’ve played in an IIHF tournament within the last year. Plus, they have to play in their country’s top domestic league. The first winner was Connor Bedard in 2023, boosting the award’s importance.

For the 2024 award, over 100 media members and top officials from 22 countries voted. They pick their favorites from players like Roman Cervenka, Lukas Dostal, Kevin Fiala, Roman Josi, Erik Karlsson, and John Tavares. The votes were each worth different amounts, with media having more say than the IIHF Family.

FinalistNationalityKey Achievements
Roman CervenkaCzechiaCaptained Czechia to gold at Men’s Worlds, tied for 6th in scoring with 11 points and +7 rating, 40 points in 47 games for Rapperswil
Lukas DostalCzechiaNamed WM Directorate Best Goalie, 6-2 record with 3 shutouts at Men’s Worlds, .902 save % in NHL debut
Kevin FialaSwitzerlandMen’s Worlds MVP and Directorate Best Forward, silver medal with Switzerland, 73 points in NHL
Roman JosiSwitzerlandSwiss team captain, Directorate Best Defender, 85 points in NHL with Nashville Predators
Erik KarlssonSwedenLed Sweden to bronze medal, tied for 6th in Men’s Worlds scoring with 11 points, 56 points in NHL
John TavaresCanadaCaptained Canada at Men’s Worlds, tied for 6th in scoring with 11 points, 29 goals and 65 points in NHL

This year, the award announcement will be made on Monday, June 17th at 12pm ET/6pm CEST. It highlights the global attention international ice hockey gets.

Reactions and Accolades

Roman Cervenka winning the 2024 IIHF Male Player of the Year has caused a stir in the hockey world. He got 31.3% of the vote to beat stars like Swiss Roman Josi and Czech Lukas Dostal. This win was massive for him, considering the stiff competition.

Praise from Hockey Community

His key role in Czechia’s gold medal win at the World Championship stood out. Fans and experts see him as a top player thanks to his leadership and skills. Patrick Sharp, a former NHL player, called the award a sign of Cervenka’s lasting impact.

Milos Riha was also quick to commend Cervenka. He highlighted his smart plays and how he lifts his teammates. To Riha, Cervenka embodies the spirit of the game. Winning this award is proof of his exceptional career.

Support for Cervenka poured in from fans and media worldwide. They noted his age, 38, and lauded his consistent top-level play. “He’s a true example for young athletes dreaming of making it in hockey,” a fan remarked enthusiastically on a forum.

Within the Czech Republic, the win became an instant source of national pride. The Minister of Sports celebrated Cervenka for motivating a new wave of hockey enthusiasts. He called Cervenka’s achievement a crucial moment in the country’s sports history.

IIHF - Cervenka: “We needed this”

Looking Ahead: Cervenka’s Future

Roman Cervenka has just won the IIHF Male Player of the Year award, marking a high point in his career. This Czechia captain, now 38, shows no signs of slowing down. It’s his fourth medal in eleven years at the Worlds, including two Golds and two Bronzes.

In 2005, he took home a Bronze at the World Juniors. He’s also been to four Olympics and the 2016 World Cup Of Hockey.

Cervenka brings more than skill to Czechia’s team; he brings leadership. Even as his career nears its end, hockey fans are eager to see what he does next. They wonder if he can bring more victories to his country. His dedication to the sport and his homeland is clear. The sports world will be watching closely to see his next move.

Roman Cervenka still has a lot to offer, thanks to his vast experience and drive. He’s a key figure in Czech Republic hockey and aims to make his mark even deeper. As his future unfolds, fans of athlete recognition and international tournament will be waiting eagerly to see what he does next. His journey will undeniably draw attention from the IIHF and all who follow the game closely.

Conclusion

Roman Cervenka earned the IIHF Male Player of the Year for 2024. He’s a 38-year-old Czech team captain. His influence was clear, winning over one-third of the votes. He beat Roman Josi, a top Swiss defenseman, by one percent.

His efforts led Czechia to win gold at the 2024 Men’s World Championship. He scored 11 points and had a +7 rating. In the quarterfinal, his assist against Team USA stood out, showing his international stage impact. Along with Cervanka, Czech players Lukas Dostal and Kevin Fiala were also celebrated. Their performances showcased the Czech Republic’s strength in the tournament.

In the semis, Czech fans filled the arena with 17,413 people. Almost 800,000 attended the whole tournament, setting a new record. Cervanka’s leadership sparked new excitement for hockey in the Czech Republic. His award as the IIHF Male Player of the Year honors his significant role in the sport.

Jamaica continues to hold the top spot in the Challenger series

By National Teams of Ice Hockey

The Jamaica national men’s ice hockey team continues to hold the top position following the conclusion of the second round of the Challenger series held in Long Island, USA, over the past weekend. Out of the four games played, the team emerged victorious in two games, triumphing over Puerto Rico with a score of 11-2 and defeating Lebanon with a score of 8-4. However, they faced setbacks in the remaining two games, losing 5-7 to Puerto Rico and 4-6 to Lebanon.

The Jamaican team’s strong performance in both the New York games and the series as a whole has solidified their position at the top of the standings. With their exceptional goal-scoring record and consistent victories, Jamaica has proven to be a formidable force in the competition, showcasing their skill and determination on the Ice.

Despite the shortage of players, the team’s exceptional performance has been evident. President Don Anderson, as quoted in a news release from the Jamaica Ice Hockey Federation, highlighted that the team in New York started with 14 players, which was four players less than the other teams.

Jamaica had a busy day ahead with two matches scheduled for Friday. However, their plans took an unexpected turn during the first game against Puerto Rico. Carter Thornton, an integral member of the team, unfortunately suffered a broken elbow from a tackle. As a result, our team’s strength was diminished, leaving us with only 13 players for the rest of the series.

Notwithstanding the challenges, the team showcased their brilliance on the field, overpowering Puerto Rico with an impressive 11-2 triumph. This resounding victory stood as the most significant margin of success witnessed throughout the entire tournament. Furthermore, Ethan Finlayson, who had been indisposed during the team’s first game, made a timely recovery and rejoined the squad for the subsequent encounter against Lebanon. This boosted our team’s strength to a total of 14 players, a fact that Anderson highlighted with enthusiasm.

In the second encounter between Jamaica and Lebanon, the former was unable to secure a victory, ultimately losing with a score of 4-6. The game occurred just eight hours after the first game, shedding light on the obstacles posed by having a smaller pool of players available for rotation during gameplay.

Regrettably, Jamaica was unable to secure a victory in the third game against Puerto Rico, ending with a score of 5-7. The primary reason behind this loss can be attributed to the players’ increasing fatigue throughout the game. This weariness resulted in a number of unforced errors and costly goals, ultimately impacting the outcome of the game in Puerto Rico’s favor.

The Jamaican team showcased their exceptional ice hockey skills in the highly competitive final game against a significantly improved Lebanon side on Sunday morning. Throughout the game, Jamaica maintained their lead and emerged victorious with an impressive scoreline of 8-4. The game proved to be the most challenging of the series for the Jamaican outfit, highlighting the team’s resilience and determination.

The series will now move to Toronto, Canada in July.

 

Czechia World Champions

By National Teams of Ice Hockey

The Czechia emerged victorious with a 2-0 win over Switzerland in front of a crowd of 17,413 fans at the 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship held in Prague. This victory marks the seventh time that the host country has claimed the title of world champion, adding to their previous wins in 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, and 2010. Meanwhile, Sweden secured the bronze medal by defeating Canada with a score of 4-2 in the thrilling competition. The teams showcased their skills and determination throughout the championship, making it an exciting event for hockey fans around the world.

The turning point came when David Pastrňák, a renowned superstar who had been unable to contribute any points until then, finally broke the deadlock with a powerful shot from the left side. This crucial goal in the 50th minute not only ended the goal drought but also propelled the hosts to a 1:0 lead. The tension in the arena escalated as the clock ticked away, with both teams giving their all to secure victory in the prestigious tournament.

The tension in the Prague Arena reached its peak when David Kämpf managed to score into the empty net just 19 seconds before the final whistle, causing an eruption of excitement among the spectators. The deafening roar of the crowd almost lifted the roof off the arena, creating an electrifying atmosphere that will be remembered for years to come. However, Switzerland’s efforts fell short as the Czechia emerged victorious with a 2-0 win, securing their seventh world championship title.

This thrilling final not only showcased the intense competition between the two teams but also made history by setting a new record attendance at a World Cup, with a staggering 797,727 fans in attendance. The passion and enthusiasm of the supporters added to the spectacle of the event, highlighting the global appeal and significance of ice hockey as a sport. The Czech Republic’s triumph will be etched in the annals of hockey history, marking a memorable moment in the world of sports.

Sweden Win the Bronze Medal

During the battle for the third-place position, Sweden emerged victorious over Canada with a final score of 4-2, thus securing the coveted bronze medal. The game saw an intense exchange of goals, with Carl Grundström scoring first for Sweden in the 13th minute of the first period. However, Canada quickly responded as Dylan Cozens managed to equalize in the 23rd minute of the middle period.

During the latter part of the game, the Canadian team managed to secure a 2-1 lead with a goal from Pierre-Luc Dubois in the 45th minute. However, the Swedish team, Tre Kronor, staged a comeback in the final ten minutes of the match. Erik Karlsson scored the equalizer, making it 2-2 in the 50th minute, and Carl Grundström netted his second goal to put Sweden in the lead at 3-2 in the 54th minut

The Swedes secured their first medal since claiming gold in 2018. On the other hand, Canada faced disappointment once again, losing their fifth consecutive bronze medal game. The last time the Canadian team emerged victorious in the third-place match was back in 1995.

In 2025, the IIHF Men’s World Championship is expected to welcome two new participants, Armenia and Uzbekistan

By National Teams of Ice Hockey

The IIHF Men’s World Championship, scheduled for 2025, will witness the inclusion of Armenia and Uzbekistan as new entrants. Both countries have expressed their desire to participate in this renowned ice hockey tournament, highlighting their commitment to developing the sport within their borders. This expansion reflects the increasing interest and enthusiasm for ice hockey worldwide, as nations strive to showcase their skills on the international stage.

The President of the Kuwaiti Winter Games Club, Fuhaid Al-Ajmi, recently revealed that the upcoming Division 4 tournament organized by the International Ice Hockey Federation will include Iran, Kuwait, Indonesia, Malaysia, Uzbekistan, and Armenia. This expansion will see the number of participating teams increase from four to six, providing more opportunities for countries to compete at the international level.

Despite the exciting news of the tournament expansion, one key detail remains uncertain – the host country for the championship. With no official host announced yet, the participating teams are eagerly awaiting further updates from the International Ice Hockey Federation. The addition of two more teams to the tournament lineup adds an extra layer of anticipation and excitement for both players and fans alike.

Singapore’s participation in the IIHF World Championship

The IIHF has recently announced the tournament hosts and participants for the upcoming 2024-25 season, in both the Men’s World Championship, and the Women’s World Championship. It is noteworthy that Singapore has been selected to be a part of both categories. This decision by the IIHF showcases the growing recognition and development of ice hockey in Singapore, as the country joins other nations in hosting and competing in this prestigious event.

EXCLUSIVE: Former Swiss hockey star Mark Streit on the IIHF Worlds & playing in the NHL

Mark Streit started his overseas career in Montreal

By Martin Tomaides

Source: Flashscore.com

Before the current generation of Swiss hockey players emerged in the NHL, Mark Streit (46) was one of the few who proudly represented the Alpine country in the best league in the world.

The former New York Islanders captain and 2017 Stanley Cup winner with PittsburghStreit was in Prague during the IIHF World Championship to show off the latest edition of the watch company he co-founded, Norqain.

In this exclusive interview with Flashscore, he talks about the ongoing tournament, the thirteen World Championships he played in during his career and, of course, his rich career in the NHL.

Tell me, is it a coincidence that you found yourself in Prague promoting the Norqain brand at the exact moment of the IIHF World Championship or was that planned?

“Actually, it’s half and half. The CEO of the company, Ben Küffer, came to us with the idea that we were going to have a company event at the Koscom store in Prague in May, so I immediately thought it was the perfect date.”

And how did you enjoy Switzerland‘s win over Finland in the group stage?

“It was no big deal for Finland, but the atmosphere in the arena was still great. I love Prague, I played here at the championships in 2004 and 2015 and when I connect it to all the championships I’ve been to, Prague is the top for me in terms of the city, the fans, the hotels or the infrastructure.

“Although playing at home in Switzerland was of course great too.”

What made the tournament so special for you?

“People love hockey here, the stadiums are always full, the people are friendly, there is beer drinking, singing and cheering everywhere. Plus, it’s beautiful here. There are lots of interesting things to do in the city on your days off.

“That’s why I convinced Ben that we should come during the tournament and experience it all again.”

The Swiss have advanced to the final four at the tournament

So you only caught one game live, but I assume you watched the tournament before that?

“I didn’t miss the Swiss matches on TV, and I still know a lot of the players and am in contact with them. I texted Nino Niederreiter and goalkeeper Leonardo Genoni after the game, that’s all I could do. They had to quickly head to Ostrava for their quarter-final against Germany.”

‘The best team we’ve ever had’

Switzerland have a really strong squad at the current tournament, led by defender Roman Josi and forward Kevin Fiala. How do you evaluate the tournament from a Swiss point of view?

“It’s probably the best team we’ve ever had at the World Championship. It’s great that all the NHL players were able to come, the only one missing from the stars is actually the injured Timo Meier.

“For me, it is very important to have experienced players in the team, because in key games patience, calmness and the aforementioned experience are irreplaceable.”

If you have to single out one Swiss player, who do you like the most?

“Roman Josi is without a doubt one of the best defenders of today. He regularly plays 82 games in the NHL, averages 24 minutes on the ice, struggles in the playoffs and then comes to represent anyway, even though he’s definitely banged up from the season.

“I really appreciate this dedication, Switzerland need him and he’s playing great. I met Roman at the championship in 2009, we started training together over the summer and became good friends. We even attended each other’s wedding. He is an excellent hockey player.”

Josi is now 33 years old but the Swiss have a younger generation, such as 2017 No. 1 draft pick Nico Hischier.

“He’s excellent, of course, and I also expect a lot from Lian Bichsel, the 20-year-old defenseman drafted in the first round by Dallas two years ago, but otherwise I’m not so optimistic. We need more young and skilled players, right now I don’t quite see us producing another first-round draft pick.”

Streit was captain of the NY Islanders for two seasons

On the other hand, ten Swiss have played in the NHL this season, nine of whom have key positions in their clubs. Slowly that number is going up. Do you know how many Swiss were in the competition when you started there in 2005/06?

“There were goalkeepers David Aebischer and Martin Gerber, and I think… Timo Helbling?”

That’s right. I must say, especially with the last name, you surprised me. However, the difference in quantity and especially in the roles on the ice is noticeable these days.

“The truth is that when I started in the NHL, I was one of a few. Now it’s easier, it’s known that Swiss hockey players can be good and they can be winners. They are personalities.

“When I established myself overseas and came to the World Championships in May, the pressure was really high. Everyone looked at me then as someone who had done something. And they thought that my arrival automatically meant a medal. Which was also hard for me, I was putting a lot more on my shoulders than I should have. And of course, the media didn’t help either, but this is a team sport, one or two players mean absolutely nothing.”

‘I’m worried about the future of Swiss hockey’

You had thirteen seasons in the NHL. You started at the famous Montreal, you became the first-ever Swiss captain at the NY Islanders and you broke the forty-point mark six times in a season. Do you feel like you’re the man who opened the door for other players from your country in the league?

“We already had a lot of very good hockey players before me, but the NHL was kind of far away. And we had it set in our heads that it was very hard to break in – a lot of games, a lot of travel, competition from the best players in the world.

“We had a number of good players who tried but came back home again without success. Then I broke through that thinking and got a solid position on the roster. Until then, only the goalkeepers had actually made it, but not the field players. But I think that helped a lot of the others, they saw that if I could do it, they could do it.”

And thanks to you, there are a lot of quality compatriots in the competition.

“But in my opinion, there should be a lot more. We have some star players in their ideal years and then there is a big gap. There’s a lack of lower-tier hockey players like Pius Suter in Vancouver.

“It makes me wonder what our national team will look like in, say, ten years. We need more competition from our own players in the Swiss league, right now every team is allowed to have six foreigners on the roster, that seems like a lot to me. And I’m not even talking about the second-highest league, which has many problems of its own since the days of COVID.

“This competition is important for young players between 16 and 17 years old. That’s where they should learn, so that’s why I’m a bit worried about the future of Swiss hockey. Besides, the Swiss league is attractive and the quality of life in the country is high, I understand that sometimes players don’t want to leave.”

Let’s go back to the NHL, you played 786 games in the league between 2005 and 2017 and scored 434 points. What’s the memory that ranks highest for you?

“The fact that I played for Pittsburgh at the end of my career and was part of the Stanley Cup-winning campaign was amazing. Sharing the locker room with (Sidney) Crosby, (Evgeni) Malkin, (Kris) Letang and (Marc-Andre) Fleury was great, you just needed a few moments in the locker room and you could immediately feel why you were there to win. Pittsburgh is a top-notch organization.”

Streit brought the Stanley Cup to Bern

What was it like to hoist the Stanley Cup over your head?

“You see very quickly why it’s such a valuable trophy. It’s hugely addictive. But I also have fond memories of my first NHL game because it was always a dream to play there.

“I made my debut in Toronto as a player from rivals Montreal and I was so nervous I almost couldn’t play. To have that jersey with my name on it was unreal. Hockey is like a religion in Montreal.

“I also really appreciated the opportunity to be captain of the New York Islanders and play in the 2009 All-Star Game.”

But the Cup is just a Cup?

“That moment when you win it and then you have the opportunity to spend one whole day with it, read the names engraved on it… I’ll never forget it.”

What’s Sidney Crosby like?

“He’s an unbelievable fighter and his will to win is contagious. Plus he’s awfully humble and nice – when I was traded from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh he called me right away and welcomed me to the club. He’s also a huge professional and just watching him work hard every day and take care of his nutrition and his own body is great.”

You retired from active hockey seven years ago, how has retirement been?

“I didn’t have anything prepared ahead of time, I wanted to play as long as possible and I didn’t finish my career until I was 39. Shortly before that, I got married for the first time and we started a family. Professionally I tried my hand at being an expert on television, I was also at the hockey association for a while and then it came to setting up Norqain, which I am now involved in. But I’ve stayed with hockey a little bit because I’m on the board of directors of Bern Hockey.”

Do you still go on the ice?

“I used to go with the younger ones, especially the defensemen, and try to pass on something to them, but now it’s more about the watches. However, when you do something for so long, it’s hard to leave it. I miss hockey.

“When I quit I couldn’t watch the NHL at all, it bothered me that I couldn’t still be there. I’m so grateful that I was able to play hockey for so many years and that I had such a successful career. I’ve accomplished more than I ever thought I would, and that makes me very happy. Plus, playing in the NHL is the greatest job in the world.”

But by the watch, it’s good too, right?

“We have a great team in Norqain and many great collaborations, for example with the NHLPA and the Spengler Cup. So I’m still kind of a part of the hockey world, and I’m doing something that’s traditional for our country.”

Finally, let’s quickly get back to the ongoing tournament. Who will dominate it?

“I haven’t really been able to follow Group B that much, but I’ve heard that Sweden are playing unbelievably. On the other hand, it has happened in the past that teams that played great in the group have unexpectedly dropped out in the first battle for everything.

“However, look at how we unexpectedly lost to Germany a year ago, just one game! However, I still believe that Switzerland can make it to the final. And I really liked Canada, they played physically, they went after our best players… Canada definitely has a great chance too.

Women’s National Team Qualification Groups for the 2026 Olympic Games

By National Teams of Ice Hockey

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) recently unveiled the qualification groups for the women’s ice hockey teams aiming to participate in the 2026 Olympic Games held in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo. These groups will serve as the battlegrounds where teams will vie for their chance to represent their nations on the grand stage of the Winter Olympics.

Pre-qualifications will begin on November 7-10, 2024.

Tatarstan and the Baku Flames are Champions

 

By National Teams of Ice Hockey

Over the span of five days, a total of 16 matches were played by seven teams divided into two groups. Group A witnessed the remarkable performance of the Tatarstan team, securing the first place by achieving three victories in three meetings. Their dominance continued in the semifinals as they triumphed over the combined team of Turkey and Mongolia (MIXED TEAM). In the final showdown, the hosts of the tournament showcased their strength by overcoming the resilient resistance of Kazakhstan in a thrilling shootout, ultimately emerging victorious with a score of 3:2. The bronze medal was awarded to Turkey and Mongolia (MIXED TEAM), who narrowly defeated Dordoi of Kyrgyzstan in a closely contested match, ending with a score of 7-6.

Meanwhile, the Baku Flames from Azerbaijan made an impressive international debut in Group B, clinching the top spot with two victories. Their journey culminated in the final match, where they achieved a resounding triumph over Bahrain with a score of 7:3. On the other hand, Iran secured the third place in the group, despite not securing any wins. However, they did engage in a friendly match against Turkey and Mongolia (MIXED TEAM) on the final day, emerging victorious with a score of 11:5.

Overall, the tournament showcased the exceptional skills and determination of various teams, with Tatarstan and the Baku Flames emerging as the champions of their respective groups. The intense matches and close contests demonstrated the competitive spirit of the participating teams, making the event a memorable one for both the players and the spectators.

Hungary & Slovenia Back Up to the elite group

By National Teams of Ice Hockey

As the match progressed, Hungary’s confidence grew, and they maintained their lead with strategic plays and quick counterattacks. The team’s resilience and focus were key in securing their victory in the final World Championship  game. Zétény Hadobás’s leadership and the players’ unwavering commitment to success were instrumental in ending the tournament on a high note for the Hungarian team.

Despite the Slovenian team’s potential for a swift response, Bálizs managed to hold them off once more. Following this, Mihály attempted to advance towards the goal, but was obstructed by Podlipnik who prevented him from regaining his footing – resulting in a two-minute delay. The puck was effectively utilized during the man advantage, with shots being directed at Kroselj’s goal, however, it appeared improbable to increase the lead. Hári’s shot came closest to scoring, but unfortunately ricocheted off the iron.

Despite the pressure from the opponents in the following two minutes, the Hungarian defense continued to operate smoothly. The team managed to hold off the attacks and maintain their composure. The players showed great determination and coordination in thwarting the opposition’s attempts to score.

The subsequent period marked a significant shift in the game dynamics. Initially, the Hungarian team played with great intensity, dominating the opponent. Papp, in particular, showcased his skills with a powerful shot that unfortunately hit the iron. However, in the 24th minute, Hári made a remarkable play from deep, causing the opposing full-back to slip, but he couldn’t outmaneuver the goalkeeper. Gradually, the Slovenian team started to find their rhythm, and Bálizs had to make several saves to protect the Hugarian goal. Unfortunately, in the 26th minute, he was unable to stop an unfortunate goal as Ticar managed to score while lying on the ground, catching the goalkeeper off guard. Papp had another opportunity, but the following minutes belonged to his opponent as Magovac made several attempts, with Bálizs standing firm in his position. However, in the 33rd minute, Ortenszky received a penalty, and during the two minutes, the Hungarian goalkeeper displayed his skills with four impressive saves, resulting in a draw. Varga capitalized on one of the few chances Hungary had and scored a goal, while Drozg and Cepon attempted to score on the opposite side.

As the game progressed, the Hungarian team’s resilience and determination became evident. Bálizs’ stellar goalkeeping skills were instrumental in keeping the team in the game and preventing the opposition from scoring. The team’s collective effort in defense, coupled with Bálizs’ outstanding performance, ultimately led to their successful navigation through a few tense moments near their goal. In the end, the Hungarian team emerged victorious, thanks to their solid defense and ability to overcome challenges on the ice.

Even with an equal number of players on both sides, the Hungarian team displayed a strong and coordinated effort throughout the game. The players maintained their composure and played with confidence until the very end. In the 57th minute, Cepon was penalized for two minutes, providing another chance for the Hungarian team to capitalize on the power play.

The game was intense, with both teams displaying skill and determination on the ice. Erdély and Podlipnik’s actions may have resulted in penalties, but the overall performance of the Hungarian team, particularly Bálizs and the defense, ensured that they emerged victorious. The players’ resilience and teamwork were key factors in their success during the game.

The Hungarian team’s victory over Slovenia not only earned them the gold medal but also established a new standard of success for the team. Their remarkable performance at the World Championship will be remembered as a turning point in their history, setting the stage for future triumphs and solidifying their reputation and a place in the elite group.

Slovenia’s impressive second-place finish also highlighted their capabilities and determination, ensuring that they will be a team to watch in the elite group for the upcoming year.

Ukraine defeats Lithuania and returns to the Division I Group A

Ukraine Promoted to Division I Group A

By National Teams of Ice Hockey

The 2024 IIHF World Championship Division I Group B came to an exhilarating end in Vilnius as Ukraine triumphed over the host nation, Lithuania, with a commanding 4-1 victory. This remarkable win not only sealed Ukraine’s dominance in the group but also paved the way for their promotion to Division I Group A next season. After a long wait of seven years, Ukraine will finally make a comeback to the second flight, showcasing their prowess on the international ice hockey stage.

Ukraine’s performance was nothing short of impressive as they showcased their superiority in each match, leaving their competitors struggling to keep up. The team’s cohesive gameplay and strong offensive tactics were evident as they consistently outplayed their rivals.

It is worth noting that some of the team’s players actively participate in Ukraine’s domestic league, showcasing their skills and dedication to the sport even during challenging times. Despite the obstacles, the league continues to operate, providing a platform for these talented athletes to excel and compete.

Alexander Peresunko, the winger, emerged as the top scorer for the team, tallying an impressive 11 points on the scoreboard. Trailing closely behind was defenseman Igor Merezhko, who contributed nine points to the team’s overall performance.

 In the realm of hockey, Ukraine was once a formidable contender, leaving a lasting impact on the sport. Their remarkable streak of nine consecutive appearances in the elite division of the World Championships, from 1999 to 2007, is a testament to their skill and dedication. Although they narrowly missed out on the quarterfinals, their exceptional performance in 2002 propelled them to a commendable ninth place finish. It is worth mentioning that Coach Khristich played a pivotal role in shaping the success of this Ukrainian team.

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