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MOSCOW, May 6. /TASS/. Russia’s titled forward Pavel Datsyuk will be the captain of the national team at the 2016 IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) World Championship, which kicks off on Friday in Russia, team’s Assistant Coach Harijs Vitolins told journalists.
"The team elected Datsyuk the captain and his assistants will be Sergei Mozyakin and Vadim Shipachev," Vitolins said.
Datsyuk, 37, first played for the Russian national team at the 2001 IIHF World Championship in Germany. In all, he played 69 games as part of the national squad at various tournaments and boasts a record of 48 points (goals and assists).
He is the 2012 World Champion and the 2002 Olympic bronze medalist. Playing for NHL’s Detroit Red Wings, Datsyuk is the two-time winner of the Stanley Cup (2002 and 2008).
The matches of the 2016 IIHF World Championship are scheduled to be held in the country’s capital of Moscow and in Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg between May 6 and 22. The games of the global ice hockey tournament are hosted by the VTB Ice Palace in Moscow and the Yubileiny Arena in St. Petersburg.
The Russian national team begins the global championship with the game against the Czech Republic on Friday, May 6, at 8:15 p.m. Moscow time (17:15 GMT).
A total of 16 national teams, qualified to play in the upcoming 2016 IIHF World Championship, were divided into two groups. The 12,000-seat VTB Ice Palace in Moscow hosts the matches of Group A, which comprise the teams from Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Latvia, Norway, Denmark and Kazakhstan.
The 6,000-seat Yubileiny Arena host the matches of Group B teams, which are from Canada, Finland, the United States, Slovakia, Belarus, France, Germany and Hungary.
During the knock-out stage the stadiums in Moscow and St. Petersburg will each host two matches of the quarterfinals round, while both semifinals, the match for the third place and the final are scheduled to be held at the VTB Ice Palace in Moscow.
This is be the 7th IIHF World Championship held in Russia as it was hosted by Moscow five times, namely in 1957, 1973, 1979, 1986 and 2007, and once by St. Petersburg in 2000.
Russia’s most recent titles of world champions were conquered in 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2014. The 2008 title was a real treat for Russian hockey fans as it came to the team after a 15-year drought. That title Russia snatched from Canada, which was hosting the World Championship for the first time in its history, with 5-4 victory in overtime.