- Dates: May 12-28, 2023
- Locations: Arena Riga in Riga, Latvia, and Nokia Arena in Tampere, Finland
- How to Watch: IIHF YouTube
The 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship is set to start in Tampere, Finland, and Riga, Latvia from May 12th-28th.
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As the hosts, Finland aims to defend their men’s world title, having won both the Olympic Games and World Championship last season.
The current world and Olympic champions, the Finnish team, known as the Leijonat (Lions), will face challenges from various opponents in their quest to maintain their dominance.
In terms of player eligibility, those competing in the National Hockey League (NHL) can participate in the World Championship if their NHL franchise is no longer involved in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
These NHL players’ presence could be decisive in determining the tournament outcome this year.
The upcoming IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship will feature two groups, each playing at distinct venues.
Group A will compete at the recently inaugurated Nokia Arena in Tampere, which also served as a host venue for last year’s World Championships.
With a seating capacity of over 13,000, this indoor stadium is the primary arena for the championships. It will host the Group A matches and accommodate two quarterfinals, both semifinals and medal games.
The participating teams in Group A include Austria, Denmark, the host country Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Sweden, and the United States.
Today’s ”good to know” information is about the game schedule!
— 2023 #IIHFWORLDS (@2023iihfwm) May 5, 2023
On the other hand, Group B will be based in Riga at the Arena Riga, a well-established venue for the IIHF World Championships, having previously hosted the event in 2006 and 2021.
The arena has a capacity of approximately 14,500 spectators and will host the Group B games, as well as two quarterfinal matches.
The teams competing in Group B consist of Canada, Czechia, Kazakhstan, the host nation Latvia, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland.
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Despite being the defending champions, the Finnish team will face some challenges as they enter the world championships.
Unfortunately, Patrik Laine, the skilled forward from the Columbus Blue Jackets, sustained an injury toward the end of the NHL season.
As a result, he has decided to opt out of the world championships to prioritize his recovery and rehabilitation.
Furthermore, Valtteri Filppula, a veteran forward who led Finland to double gold last year as the team captain, has not been chosen for this year’s roster.
The Finnish team will need to find alternative sources of leadership and skill without his presence on the ice.
However, one of the key players expected to shine for Finland this year is Mikko Rantanen, the talented forward from the Colorado Avalanche.
Rantanen’s abilities and contributions are highly regarded, and he is anticipated to be one of the team’s strongest assets in the tournament.
Finland will look to Rantanen to provide leadership and significantly impact their performance.
I would not recommend betting on Finland at +185 odds. Those odds feel too short and the competition is too fierce in this competition.
Despite fielding a relatively young squad, Canada enters the tournament as one of the favorites. One notable exception to the youth is the 34-year-old Milan Lucic, who is poised to make his debut in the World Championship representing the Canadian team.
Leading the front three for Canada is Tyler Toffoli, who had an outstanding season in the NHL, scoring a personal-best of 34 goals.
GAME OVER! Cody Glass finishes with a hat trick to lead 🇨🇦 to a 5-2 pre-#IIHFWorlds win over 🇭🇺.
MATCH FINI! Cody Glass marque trois buts, et le 🇨🇦 gagne son match préparatoire au #MondialIIHF 5-2 contre la 🇭🇺.
— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) May 9, 2023
With his impressive performance, the 31-year-old winger from the Calgary Flames brings valuable experience to the team, having previously won a gold medal in the World Championship in 2015.
Adding to the Canadian lineup is Adam Fantilli, a highly promising player who has already earned a gold medal in the World Junior Championship.
Fantilli, projected to be selected second overall in this year’s NHL Draft, has the opportunity to further enhance his already high stock in the tournament.
In terms of defense, Canada will rely on the expertise of 34-year-old Brad Hunt. His experience and knowledge of the game will be invaluable as he takes to the ice, contributing to the team’s defensive efforts.
I would recommend betting on Canada to win the 2023 IIHF World Championship at +325 odds.
The USA team once again presents a blend of youthful talent and seasoned players for the World Championship.
The roster assembled by David Quinn consists of 22 individuals, with eight of them currently competing in the NCAA this season.
It’s worth noting that this NCAA group includes notable names like Sean Farrell, who played Olympic and World Championship hockey last season.
Joining him is former Boston University teammate Drew Commesso, who made the most of his opportunities in Beijing and served as an understudy during the 2021 Worlds.
Furthermore, the team benefits from significant NHL experience, with Nick Bonino being a standout player.
Bonino has previously won two bronze medals at the World Championship while representing Team USA.
Additionally, Alex Tuch, from the Buffalo Sabres, brings his expertise to the team. Tuch’s younger brother, Luke is also part of this team.
Introducing the 2023 U.S. Men’s National Team roster! #MensWorlds 🇺🇸
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) May 4, 2023
Last year, the American team secured a fourth-place finish. They experienced a close 3-4 defeat against Finland in the semifinals in and went on to lose 4-8 as Czechia ended their long-standing medal drought in the bronze medal match.
I would recommend placing a small wager on the US team to win the 2023 IIHF World Championship.
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