Bratislava, Slovakia – The Czech Republic has made it out of the group stage of the Ice Hockey World Championship and will now face Germany in the quarterfinals. Hosts Slovakia failed to qualify after finishing fifth of group A.
The Czech Republic finished second of group B after winning 6 of its 7 games, including two 8-0 thrashings of Italy and Austria, only losing to group-winners Russia. In addition to the Czechs Republic, Russia and Germany, the other countries making it to the next stage of the competition are Canada, Switzerland, the United States, Finland and Sweden, who son the last to editions in 2017 and 2018. Despite a strong campaign which saw them beat the United States, France and 2018-hosts Denmark, Slovakia, pushed on by a fervent home crowd, fell a few points short of qualifying for the quarterfinals.
Like the previous rounds, the four quarterfinals will take place tomorrow at Bratislava’s Ondrej Nepela Arena and Košice’s Steel Aréna. The final will be held on Sunday in the Slovak capital.
The Czechs are widely considered to be part of an unofficial “Big Six”, which also includes Canada, Finland, Russia, Sweden, and the United States.
First officially held at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Belgium, the Ice Hockey World Championship, held annually, is the sport’s highest profile international tournament. Canada was the tournament’s first dominant team, winning the tournament 12 times from 1930 to 1952. After winning the tournament six times as Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia began competing separately in 1993 with the Czech Republic winning the tournament six additional times in 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2010. Slovakia won it’s first and only World Championship in 2002.
Poland and Hungary participate is the Division I, which is basically the second division of the competition through which teams can qualify for the World Championship.