Revised dates for Latvia-Belarus Ice Hockey World Championships announced

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) officially announced June 22 that next year's Ice Hockey World Championships in Rīga and Minsk will start two week later than initially planned, the LETA newswire reported.

The tournament will kick-off on May 21, instead of May 7, with the final to take place on June 6.

The decision was made to allow for more NHL players to be able to participate in the tournament, as the next 2020/2021 NHL season is also planned to start at a later date than usual.

As reported, Latvia will be host to one of the group stages and two quarter-final games. Group B will also include Canada, Finland, the United States, Germany, Norway, Italy and Kazakhstan.

Meanwhile, Group A, which will be played in Minsk, will be made up of hosts Belarus, Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Slovakia, Denmark and Great Britain. Minsk will host two quarter-final games, both semi-finals and the medal games.

Latvia will co-host with neighboring Belarus, where President Alexander Lukashenko is currently engaged in another harsh crackdown on opposition to his rule and dissent ahead of presdential elections, including harassment and arbitrary detention of journalists. Lukashenko's actions drew criticism from the European Union's high representative for foreign affairs. Lukashenko had been due to visit Latvia in April.

 

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