IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship 2023: Preview, schedule, stars involved, how to watch live (2023)

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The 2023 men’s world championship will be co-hosted by Finland and Latvia, as Tampere and Riga welcome 16 of the world’s top teams. Discover a preview of the action below.

8 minBy ZK Goh

Ice Hockey
IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship 2023: Preview, schedule, stars involved, how to watch live (3)
(Picture by Martin Rose/Getty Images)

Co-hosts Finland will look to retain their men's world title when the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship begins in Tampere and Riga, Latvia, from 12–28 May.

The Leijonat (Lions) did the rare Olympic Games–World Championship double last season, and the reigning world and Olympic champions will seek to hold off challenges from all sides once again.

National Hockey League (NHL) players are eligible to play in the World Championship as long as their NHL franchise is no longer involved in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and those players could well make the difference again this year.

Finland celebrate historic first ice hockey gold

Teams and players to watch at the 2023 Men’s IIHF World Championship

Group A will play at the Nokia Arena in Tampere, which was only opened in November 2021 and also served as a host venue for last year's World Championships. That indoor stadium holds over 13,000 people and is the main arena for the championships, also holding two quarter-finals, both semi-finals, and both medal games. In Group A are Austria, Denmark, hosts Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Sweden, and the United States.

Group B, meanwhile, will be based in Riga at the Arena Riga, a stadium well used to hosting the IIHF World Championships having done so in 2006 and again in 2021. Some 14,500 spectators can fit in the arena, which will host Group B games along with two quarter-finals. The teams in Group B are Canada, Czechia, Kazakhstan, hosts Latvia, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland.

Group A

Finland, Sweden, and the United States are the front-runners to qualify from Group A, with Germany and Denmark likely contesting the fourth spot between them.

While the Finns are defending champions, they will be without Patrik Laine, the Columbus Blue Jackets forward who suffered an injury towards the end of the NHL season and has opted out of the world championships to focus on recovery. Meanwhile, veteran forward Valtteri Filppula, who captained Finland to double gold last year, has not been selected for this year's team. They will instead rely on the Colorado Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen as one of the side's strongest players this year.

On Team Sweden, the Anaheim Ducks' Jakob Silfverberg – a Sochi 2014 Olympic silver medallist – is the most experienced head with an NHL background on the team's extended 27-man preliminary list. Other NHLers include Rasmus Sandin and 21-year-old hotshot winger Lucas Raymond.

The United States have named a team mostly centred on players in the minor American Hockey League as well as college teams, with two-time Stanley Cup winner Nick Bonino the most experienced name on the squad. With yet another inexperienced and experimental squad, the Americans' gold-medal drought might continue. They haven’t won World gold since clinching Olympic gold in 1960 that doubled as the world title. Indeed, they haven’t even reached the gold-medal game at a Worlds since then, although they did win bronze in 1996, 2004, 2013, 2015, 2018, and 2021.

Group B

Over in Group B,Canada are the favourites to win the group, even with a relatively young squad. An exception to that is the 34-year-oldMilan Lucic, in line to make his World Championship debut for the Canadians.

Tyler Toffoli, who scored a personal-best 34 goals in the NHL this season, will help lead the front three. The 31-year-old Calgary Flames winger should help provide some experience, having won World gold in 2015. Additionally, World Junior Championship gold medallist Adam Fantilli – projected to be drafted second overall in this year's NHL Draft – is in the squad and could raise his own stock even higher. In defence, Canada will rely on 34-year-old Brad Hunt to bring his know-how to the ice.

Czechia, Slovakia, andSwitzerland all pose significant threats to the Canadians in this group. The Czechs have bothFilip Chytil (22 goals for the New York Rangers) andDominik Kubalik (20 goals for the Detroit Red Wings) among their forward group to provide the firepower. There is bad news for Slovakia however, as the breakout star from Beijing 2022 Juraj Slafkovsky has been excluded from the side after failing to recover from an injury sustained in January while playing for the Montreal Canadiens. Switzerland'sNino Niederreiter is perhaps the most recognisable NHL name on a roster full of experience, mostly playing in the Swiss league.

2023 Men’s Ice Hockey World Championship format

The 16 teams are split into two round-robin groups of eight, Group A and Group B. After each team has played the other seven in their group, the top four teams from each group progress to the quarter-finals.

As is usual, the bottom two teams overall are relegated to Division 1a of the World Championships for the following year. The promoted teams for next year are already known, with Great Britain and Poland finishing first and second respectively in this year's Division 1a.

The quarter-finals will be played cross-group, with the first-placed team facing the fourth-placed team from the opposing group, and second playing third, except if both Finland and Latvia qualify and would otherwise meet each other. In that scenario, each first-placed team will play the fourth-placed team from its own group, with second playing third.

Teams will be reseeded for the semi-finals based on their group stage performances.

If the scores are tied at the end of regulation time (three periods of 20 minutes), a sudden-death first-goal-wins overtime period will be played. This period will last for five minutes in the group stage, with teams playing at three-on-three strength, before a best-of-five penalty-shot shootout. The 3-2-1-0 points system will be in use, with three points for a win in regulation, two points for an overtime or penalty-shot shootout win, one point for losing in overtime or shootout, and no points for losing in regulation.

The length of the overtime period in the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and bronze-medal game is 10 minutes, before a shootout. In the gold-medal game, the overtime period will be 20 minutes long, with no shootout – multiple overtime periods will be played until a goal is scored.

2023 IIHF Ice Hockey Men's World Championship schedule

All times are Eastern European Summer Time (UTC +3 hours).

  • Friday 12 May
    16:20 FIN v USA, SVK v CZE
    20:20 SWE v GER, LAT v CAN
  • Saturday 13 May
    12:20 FRA v AUT, SUI v SLO
    16:20 HUN v DEN, NOR v KAZ
    20:20 GER v FIN, SVK v LAT
  • Sunday 14 May
    12:20 USA v HUN, SLO v CAN
    16:20 FRA v DEN, NOR v SUI
    20:20 SWE v AUT, CZE v KAZ
  • Monday 15 May
    16:20 GER v USA, SVK v CAN
    20:20 FIN v SWE, CZE v LAT
  • Tuesday 16 May
    16:20 DEN v AUT, SLO v NOR
    20:20 FRA v HUN, SUI v KAZ
  • Wednesday 17 May
    16:20 USA v AUT, LAT v NOR
    20:20 FIN v FRA, CAN v KAZ
  • Thursday 18 May
    16:20 HUN v SWE, CZE v SLO
    20:20 DEN v GER, SUI v SVK
  • Friday 19 May
    16:20 HUN v FIN, LAT v SLO
    20:20 AUT v GER, KAZ v SVK
  • Saturday 20 May
    12:20 USA v DEN, NOR v CZE
    16:20 AUT v FIN, CAN v SUI
    20:20 SWE v FRA, KAZ v LAT
  • Sunday 21 May
    16:20 GER v HUN, SLO v SVK
    20:20 USA v FRA, CZE v SUI
  • Monday 22 May
    16:20 DEN v SWE, CAN v NOR
    20:20 AUT v HUN, KAZ v SLO
  • Tuesday 23 May
    12:20 GER v FRA, SVK v NOR
    16:20 SWE v USA, CAN v CZE
    20:20 FIN v DEN, SUI v LAT
  • Wednesday 24 May
    No games scheduled
  • Thursday 25 May
    16:20 Quarter-final games (2)
    20:20 Quarter-final games (2)
  • Friday 26 May
    No games scheduled
  • Saturday 27 May
    14:20 Semi-final 1
    18:20 Semi-final 2
  • Sunday 28 May
    15:20 Bronze-medal game
    20:20 Gold-medal game

How to watch games from 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey Men's World Championship

The whole event will be televised, with games available to watch live via broadcasting partners in specific territories.

Some regions will also have livestream and highlights clips available online on the IIHF YouTube channel.

Full information on how to watch in your region is on the official website of organisers IIHF.

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IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship 2023: Preview, schedule, stars involved, how to watch live (4)
Ice Hockey
IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship 2023: Preview, schedule, stars involved, how to watch live (5)

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