GB TO PLAY IN MINSK AT NEXT YEAR’S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

Great Britain will be in a group with hosts Belarus, as well as the Czech Republic, Denmark, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland at next year’s IIHF World Championship.

GB will be in Group A in Minsk and matches will take place at the 15,086-seater Minsk Arena, which will also host two quarter-final games, both semi-finals and the the medal games.

Riga will be the host city for Group B with Latvia joined by Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Norway and the USA.

GB head coach, Pete Russell, said: “Last year, the big buzz was the prospect of playing against Canada, USA, Finland.

“Well, they have flipped the coin and we now have the buzz of playing Russia, Czech, Sweden, Switzerland – it’s stuff that dreams are made of for any hockey player or fan.

“In two tournaments we will have competed against nearly even nation in Pool A. If I were still a player I’d be doing anything I can to be the best I can be to get on that plane.

“Any team you play in Pool A is quality and in the next tournament we will see a very different challenge, but a great experience awaits everyone.”

The IIHF have announced that the World Championship dates are set to be moved and the tournament will run from 21st May to 6th June 2021, subject to Congress approval.

IIHF president, Rene Fasel, said: “It is already apparent that the start of the season will be delayed for many of our top leagues.

“We have to try and adapt our schedule to be able to give more days for European leagues and clubs to finish their seasons.”

The seeding for the groups is based on the IIHF Sport Regulations and the 2020 IIHF Men’s World Ranking, which takes into consideration the results in World Championship tournaments and Olympics during the past four years, with one horizontal swap to accommodate special organisational needs.

The organisers will now work on the game schedule during the upcoming weeks. More information on the games, as well ticket sales, will follow at a later date. A dedicated website for the tournament will go online soon.

Last year, Great Britain secured their top-flight World Championship status with a dramatic 4-3 overtime victory against France in Slovakia, while this year’s tournament in Switzerland was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more on the IIHF website.