International Hockey Championship: Battle of the Pucks 2016
From May 6 to May 22, Russia will host the International Hockey Championship, organized by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). There are a total of 16 teams competing for the top spot, with Canada returning to defend last year’s title. Russians have long been associated with the sport of Ice Hockey, and this is a great opportunity to catch the local spirit.
This year’s participants have been divided into two groups for the qualifying rounds, and the games will be split between Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Group A’s matches will be played in Moscow at the VTB Ice Palace (ВТБ Ледовый дворец).
Group A: Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, Norway, Denmark, Kazakhstan & Latvia
Group B’s matches will be played in St. Petersburg at the Yubileyny Sports Palace (Спортивный комплекс “Юбилейный”).
Group B: Finland, Canada, Slovakia, France, Germany, United States, Belarus & Hungary
The semi-finals and finals will both take place in Moscow’s Ice Palace, which was opened in April of 2015, and has capacity for 12,100 spectators.
History of International Hockey Championship
The first championship was held in 1920 as part of the Olympic Games. There were only seven nations who sent teams to compete: Canada, Czechoslovakia, the United States, Switzerland, Sweden, France and Belgium. The Soviet Union didn’t participate in the Championships until 1954, where Canada’s decades-long dominance finally came to an end.
Today, Russia has collected a total of 27 gold medals, the most of any country, with 22 of those having been won as part of the Soviet Union. Canada trails just behind with 25 medals.
This year is sure to be a tight and race, as Canada took gold both in the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2015 Championships, and Russia’s itching for a return to glory. Let’s see if the home court advantage in a brand-new arena makes a difference!
Where Can You Watch it?
You can purchase tickets to watch in both cities here.
Tickets range from 1,700 to 4,500 rubles for Single Game Tickets for the Preliminary Rounds.
For those on a tighter budget (but just as much enthusiasm), both cities have organized dedicated fan zones where all are welcome to come and catch a game or two, participate in activities like hockey on roller skates, or dance along with the cheerleaders. Entry is free for everyone and open all day until 11pm every night. In Moscow, head to Gorky Park (парк Горького). In St. Petersburg, you’ll find the fanzone in Konyushennaya Square (Конюшенная площадь).
All schedules, highlights, team information, and statistics can be found, updated, daily, on the IIHF’s officialy website: http://www.iihfworlds2016.com/
I myself will try to snag a couple of tickets to the game between Switzerland and the Czech Republic.
If not, see you in the Fan Zone!
This blog was brought to you by Maria, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz
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