MOSCOW, May 22. /TASS/. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) announced on Tuesday groups of the 2019 Ice Hockey World Championship in Slovakia arranging places for world’s top 16 national teams.
"The groups are based on the 2018 IIHF Sport Regulations and the 2018 IIHF Men’s World Ranking established following the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship with one horizontal swap to accommodate special organizational needs and geographical considerations." The IIHF stated.
After teams of Belarus and North Korea left the elite division based on their results at the 2018 IIHF World Championship the top 16 for the next year was joined by the squads from Italy and Great Britain, which last played at the international ice hockey championships in 1994.
The teams were divided into Groups A and B. Group A will be playing matches in Slovakia’s Kosice and includes hosts Slovakia, Canada, the United States, Finland, Germany, Denmark, France and Great Britain.
Group B will be playing matches in Bratislava and enlists teams from Sweden, Russia, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Norway, Latvia, Austria and Italy.
Slovakia offers two venues for hosting matches of the championship and they are the country’s capital of Bratislava and the country’s second largest city of Kosice. Each city will host 28 matches during the group stage as well as two quarterfinals.
The semifinals, the final and the match for the bronze will be played in Bratislava at the over 10,000-seat capacity Ondrej Nepela Arena.
Kosice, which has a population of 240,000, offers the over 8,300-seat capacity Steel Arena for matches of the annual international ice hockey world championship, which is scheduled for May 10-26, 2019.