VENUES CONFIRMED FOR 2017 TOURNAMENTS

The venues for the 2017 World Championship tournaments have been revealed at the annual IIHF Congress, which is taking place this year in Moscow, Russia.

All the world’s federations meet and vote in their group – along with the IIHF Council members – on where the tournaments will be played.

Ice Hockey UK, in conjunction with Belfast Giants and The SSE Arena, won the bid to host Croatia, Estonia, Japan, Lithuania and Netherlands in Division 1B. The tournament is likely to run from Sunday 23rd to Saturday 29th April 2017, although the dates are still to be ratified.

GB Under-20s will take part in Division 1B and travel to Budapest from 11th to 17th December 2016. They will take on hosts Hungary, as well as Italy, Poland, Slovenia and Ukraine.

IHUK, along with Dumfries and Galloway Council, just missed out on a bid to host this tournament at the Dumfries Ice Bowl.

Great Britain U18 Women will take part in the newly-formed Division 1B. This tournament will be held in Jastrzebie in Poland and GB will face the hosts, along with China, Denmark, Italy and Kazakhstan from 7th to 14th January 2017.

A decision on the venues for GB Women in Division 2A and GB U18 Men, also in Division 2A, has been deferred until the IIHF’s Semi-Annual Congress in September.

Korea have put in a bid to host both events and wish to use it as a taster for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

GB Women’s group also consists of Australia, DPR Korea, Netherlands and Slovenia, while GB U18s group also has Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania and Romania in it.

IHUK general secretary, Andy French, said: “First and foremost, it is so exciting we will be hosting the men’s tournament in Belfast.

“A lot of hard work has gone into the bid by IHUK, Belfast Giants and The SSE Arena.

“IHUK chairman Richard Grievenson gave a brilliant presentation and everyone was so impressed.

“It is a shame we did not get the U20s in Dumfries, but we knew it would be difficult with four other countries also bidding.

“The Women and Under-18s situation is unique with Korea wanting to host both as a test event for their Winter Olympics. We will just have to wait and see on that one.

“Meanwhile, it is fantastic the Under-18 Women will be in a new division rather than qualification.”