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Information about 2014 World Ice Hockey Championship tournament
The Men’s World Ice Hockey Championship is the annual celebration of the fastest team game in the world. Every year, the best national hockey teams get the chance to compete for the title of the World Champion, which gives this event the status of the most important annual international hockey tournament. This year’s Men’s World Ice Hockey Championship will be already the 78th championship hosted by the International Ice Hockey Federation and it will take place from the 9th of May to 25th of May 2014 in the Belarus capital Minsk.
Belarus won the race for hosting of the Championship between countries Hungary, Latvia and Ukraine on the 8th of May 2009 with 75 votes out of 100. Their application slogan was “Welcome to the young hockey country”. Allocation of the Championship to Belarus hasn’t been left without controversy as several domestic and foreign public figures tried to force the IIHF to move the World Championships to another country because of all the accusations of the Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko of actions against humanity. The IIHF didn’t back-up these protests and responded that its statutes do not allow it to discriminate applicants for organization of the championship on political grounds.
The 2014 Ice Hockey Championship will be held in two venues in Minsk - The “Minsk Arena” and the “Chizhovka Arena”. The Minsk Arena is one of the most capacious ice rinks in Europe. This unique sports complex was inaugurated on 30 January 2010 and seats up 15,000 fans that can leave the complex within 40 minutes after an event. The Chizhovka Arena is a multifunctional sports and entertainment complex, which has been put into operation in November 2013. It has a capacity of 9,600 seats. The name of the arena is connected with its location in the south of the city in the district of Chizhovka.
Format of the 2014 IIHF World Championship
The tournament comprises of four rounds – preliminary round, quarterfinals, semi-finals and finals. 16 teams, which are divided into two groups, will participate in the preliminary round. From each group first four teams based on their standings proceed to the quarterfinals where they will play a cross-over. The team from the first place in each preliminary-round group will play against the team from the fourth place of the other group and the team from the second place will play against the team from the third place of this other group as well (1A:4B, 2A:3B, 1B:4A, 2B:3A). The winners of these matches will advance to the semi-finals, where they will play against each other in the following way: winner 1A:4B vs. winner 2B:3A, winner 1B:4A vs. winner 2A:3B. The teams which will lose in the semi-final will play against each other for the bronze medal and the teams which will win in the semi-final will compete for the gold medal and the 2014 World Champion title.
The matches for the gold and bronze medal will determine the final ranking of the top 4 teams. The teams that did not qualify from the preliminary round, as well as the teams that lost in the quarter-finals will be evaluated according to their previous positions in the groups in the quarter-final rounds.
The final ranking of the teams will be determined as follows:
1. Higher position in the group
2. Higher number of points
3. Better goal difference
4. Higher number of goals scored for
5. Better seeding number
The two teams with the worst tournament placement will be withdrawn to the 2015 IIHF World Championship Division I Group A. At the same time, the top two teams from the 2014 IIHF World Championship Division I Group A will be promoted to the 2015 IIHF World Championship
The IIHF World Ranking is based on the rankings of the teams in the last four years of IIHF World Championship and also according to the last men's Olympic men’s ice hockey tournament (including qualification tournaments) and it will be calculated after the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
Mascot of the 2014 Men’s World Ice Hockey Championship
The mascot of 2014 IIHF Championship is called VOLAT (the „heroic warrior“ in Belarusian). The mascot is actually a bison – one of the symbols of Belarus. It represents strength and power, thus gives a clear message to fans and spectators all over the world. The organizers welcome that the name Volat sounds very similar in different languages, sinceit will be easy for hockey fans to pronounce and write it.
Participants of the 2014 Men’s World Ice Hockey Championship
This year, 16 teams have qualified for the tournament. The Belarus team qualified as the hosting country, Italy and Kazakhstan qualified through promotion from the IIHF World Championship Division I in 2013, the outstanding 13 teams qualified due to their placement at the 2013 IIHF World Championship.
- Group "A" (Chizhovka Arena): Sweden, Czech Republic, Canada, Slovakia, Norway, Denmark, France, Italy.
- Group "B" (Minsk Arena): Finland, Russia, United States, Switzerland, Germany, Latvia, Belarus, Kazakhstan.
Brief history of the IIHF World Championship
The first Ice Hockey World Championship is considered the hockey tournament that took place as a part of the 1920 Summer Olympics, subsequently it was counted as a part of the winter Olympic hockey tournament. The first World Championship that was organized as an individual event took place in 1930 with 12 participating countries, however, until 1968, every men’s Olympic hockey tournament counted as the World Championship, and the World Championship wasn’t organized in the year when the men’s Olympic ice hockey tournament took place. Since 1968, both tournaments are organized in parallel and are completely independent.
The historically most successful participants of the hockey world championship are Russia (including former results of the Soviet Union) and Canada with 26 respectively 24 gold medals, followed by the Czech Republic with 12 (as Czechoslovakia successor) and Sweden with 9 gold medals. Other gold medallists are USA, Finland, Great Britain and Slovakia.
Source of illustration picture: © Lsantilli - Fotolia.com