ST. PETERSBURG, May 6. /TASS/. The main goal of the United States national ice hockey team at the 2016 IIHF World Championship, which kicks off on Friday in Russia, is to show the strong game against every opponent and be able to compete for medals, US Head Coach John Hynes told TASS.
The matches of the 2016 IIHF World Championship are held in the Russian capital of Moscow and in the country’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.
"One of the things we would like to do is not to look far ahead," Hynes said in an interview with TASS. "We want to be a very competitive team at the tournament and to do that our focus is trying to play very strong in the round-robin play and give ourselves a chance to get to the quarterfinals and be able to compete for the medals."
Last year’s bronze medalists team USA begins this World Championship with a game against reigning champions Canada. The match at the Yubileiny Arena in St. Petersburg begins at 4:15 p.m. local time (13:15 GMT).
"We have a lot of respect for Canada and we know they are a good team," Hynes said. "That is what these tournaments are about - you have to play everyone and want to be able to bring your best game no matter who you play."
A total of 16 national teams, qualified to play in the 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 hosts 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 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.