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2021 Worlds: an introduction

TOPSHOT-IHOCKEY-WC-IIHF-US-FIN Photo credit should read MIKKO STIG/AFP via Getty Images

Ready or not, the 2021 IIHF World Championship is almost here!

The 10-team, 10-day tournament starts on Friday, Aug. 20 in Calgary, and to get you ready we have a whole host of content.

It’s been a long road to get to this point.

First off, the 2020 tournament was cancelled because of the pandemic. As the calendar drew closer to the typical March starting date for the 2021 edition, the IIHF announced it would be played in May in Nova Scotia. It was never officially called a postponement or acknowledged that it would be later than usual.

Then, in April, just 15 days before puck drop, the tournament was cancelled. The provincial government of Nova Scotia cited rising COVID cases as the reason to pull the plug. The IIHF had no backup plan, a criticism that was answered by René Fasel, the president of the IIHF, when he said a full backup location would have been “not possible from an expense and logistical perspective” in an open letter posted on the IIHF’s site.

There were serious concerns that we would, for the second consecutive year, have no Worlds. Players, fans, and media members were all frustrated.

In May, the IIHF announced the tournament would be played at the end of August and was moved to Calgary. Which brings us to now, the middle of August. It’s finally time for the first IIHF women’s tournament since 2019.

Tournament format

The 10 teams are split into two groups — Group A and B.

Group A includes reigning champions USA, 2019’s silver medalist Finland, bronze medalist Canada, Russia (competing under Russian Olympic Committee, or ROC, because of doping), and Switzerland. Group B consists of Japan, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, and Hungary.

Group play is a round-robin tournament where each country faces the other teams in its respective pool. After that, all five countries in Group A and the top three countries in Group B will advance to the quarterfinals with seeding based on the group play results. The quarterfinal winners advance to the semifinals, with the others moving to knockout placement games with the winner claiming first place and moving up into Group A for the next Worlds tournament.

How to watch

  • NHL Network is slated to broadcast two pre-tournament games, every US and Canada game live as well as the second and third quarterfinal, both semifinals, and both medal games.
  • TSN will broadcast three pre-tournaments games, all preliminary-round games, quarterfinals, semifinals and medal games from WinSport Arena on their various channels. RDS will provide coverage of all Team Canada games, in addition to playoff-round games.
    TSN Schedule
  • EPSN+’s schedule shows that all non-US/Canada games will be streamed on their platform.
    Get ESPN+

Previews

Check back here as we publish previews for each of the 10 teams playing.

USA

CANADA

FINLAND

RUSSIA

SWITZERLAND

JAPAN

CZECH

GERMANY

DENMARK

HUNGARY

Schedule

DAY DATE TIME IN ET TEAM TEAM GROUP
DAY DATE TIME IN ET TEAM TEAM GROUP
Friday Aug 20 2 p.m. CZE DEN B
Friday Aug 20 6 p.m. CAN FIN A
Friday Aug 20 9:30 p.m. SUI USA A
Saturday Aug 21 2 p.m. GER HUN B
Saturday Aug 21 6 p.m. RUS SUI A
Saturday Aug 21 9:30 p.m. DEN JPN B
Sunday Aug 22 2 p.m. HUN CZE B
Sunday Aug 22 6 p.m. CAN RUS A
Sunday Aug 22 9:30 p.m FIN USA A
Monday Aug 23 2 p.m. GER DEN B
Monday Aug 23 6 p.m. JPN CZE B
Tuesday Aug 24 2 p.m. USA RUS A
Tuesday Aug 24 6 p.m. SUI CAN A
Tuesday Aug 24 9:30 p.m. HUN JPN B
Wednesday Aug 25 2 p.m. RUS FIN A
Wednesday Aug 25 6 p.m. CZE GER B
Wednesday Aug 25 9:30 p.m. DEN HUN B
Thursday Aug 26 2 p.m. FIN SUI A
Thursday Aug 26 6 p.m. USA CAN A
Thursday Aug 26 9:30 p.m. JPN GER B
Saturday Aug 28 Noon Quarterfinal Quarterfinal medal
Saturday Aug 28 3:30 p.m. Quarterfinal Quarterfinal medal
Saturday Aug 28 7 p.m. Quarterfinal Quarterfinal medal
Saturday Aug 28 10:30 p.m. Quarterfinal Quarterfinal medal
Sunday Aug 29 3 p.m. Play 1 Play 1 medal
Sunday Aug 29 7 p.m. Play 2 Play 2 medal
Monday Aug 30 3 p.m. Semifinal Semifinal medal
Monday Aug 30 7 p.m. Semifinal Semifinal medal
Tuesday Aug 31 noon Play 3 Play 3 medal
Tuesday Aug 31 3:30 p.m. Bronze Bronze medal
Tuesday Aug 31 7:30 p.m. Gold Gold medal
Time is in eastern

Each day of play, The Ice Garden will have a recap of our Game of the Day and live tweet along with it. So be sure to join us on Twitter (@TheIceGarden) and stay with us through the whole tournament.