Just days after Team Canada captured the gold medal in Russia, shutting out Team Finland and Patrik Laine 2-0, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has announced the groupings for the 2017 World Championship.
The tournament will take place from May 5th to 21st in Paris, France and Cologne, Germany. The two venues are linked by the Thalys bullet train with a trip, from downtown to downtown, taking three-and-a-half hours.
The groups would normally be based on the 2016 IIHF Men’s World Ranking, but minor adjustments had to be made to them this year to take into consideration special circumstances arising from the event being hosted by two cities in two different countries.
Group A, playing in Cologne includes the United States, 2016 bronze medalist Russia, Sweden, Slovakia, Germany, Latvia, Denmark and Italy.
Group B, playing in Paris, has 2016 gold medal winners Canada, silver medalists Finland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Belarus, Norway, co-host France and Slovenia.
Cologne, the largest city in the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region with a population of over 10 million people, will serve as the main venue for the event with its 18,500-seat LANXESS arena (formerly known as Kolnarena), which is the biggest indoor sport venue used for ice hockey in Europe. It will host 34 games including the Group A, two quarter-finals and all semi-final and medal games.
In Paris, the French capital with a population of over 12 million in the metropolitan area, the legendary arena at Bercy will host 30 games including all games of Group B and two quarter-final games. The arena was recently refurbished and extended into a state-of-the-art, 14,500-seat venue that will incorporate a large fan zone nearby.
The game schedule will be announced at a later date.