Starting on Friday the 2016 IIHF World Hockey Championship will begin in Russia. Moscow and St. Petersburg will be the home venues for the tournament with Canada playing their round robin games in St. Petersburg. For those wanting to watch the games, St. Petersburg is 9 hours ahead of Calgary time (MST).
Team Canada is the reigning champion of the tournament after going undefeated last year with a star-studded roster with names such as Sidney Crosby, Claude Giroux, Brent Burns, and Aaron Ekblad. It was their first medal since 2009 and first gold medal since 2007.
At this year's tournament, Canada choose to send a youth movement to Russia with an average age of just under 24. Corey Perry is captaining the team after his Ducks were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. The rest of Canada's roster is headlined by Connor McDavid, Brad Marchand, Taylor Hall, Morgan Reilly, and Cam Talbot in net. Canada only has 6 players 26 and over in the tournament.
There are a few Flames connections to this year's tournament as well:
- Former Flame Roman Cervenka suits up for the Czech Republic
- Former Flame Reto Berra suits up for Switzerland
- Mikael Backlund plays for Sweden and will be the Captain
- Niklas Backstrom will be a goaltender for Finland
- Brad Treliving is the Co-GM of Team Canada
However, most of the Flames' better players such as Johnny Gaudreau (USA), Sean Monahan (CAN), Mark Giordano (CAN), TJ Brodie (CAN), and Michael Frolik (CZE) have been left off their respective rosters.
Some of the big names in the tournament are:
- Auston Matthews (USA)
- Patrik Laine (FIN)
- Pavel Datsyuk (RUS)
- Corey Perry (CAN)
The groupings for the tournament are as follows:
|Group A||Group B|
|3||Czech Republic||3||United States|
Canada's group features a couple strong teams in the USA and Finland, but other than that they should have a fairly easy schedule through the round robin.
As we'll be mostly covering Canada in the tournament, here is their schedule. (All game times are MST)
|Team Canada Round Robin Schedule|
|Friday May 6||United States||7:15am|
|Sunday May 8||Hungary||3:15am|
|Monday May 9||Belarus||7:15am|
|Thursday May 12||Germany||11:15am|
|Saturday May 14||Slovakia||11:15am|
|Monday May 16||France||7:15am|
|Tuesday May 17||Finland||11:15am|
Hope everybody likes early mornings! Canada's schedule features probably their toughest game right off the bat against the United States before five weaker teams, then finishing off with another tough test against Finland. The opening game will also be an opportunity to watch Connor McDavid battle Auston Matthews.
We will be providing game recaps for every Team Canada game and also will provide updates on the rest of the tournament on an occasional basis. Go Canada and Backlund Go!