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The casual fan’s guide to the 2019 World Hockey Championship

The IIHF World Hockey Championship begins on Friday in scenic Slovakia. The annual event pits the 16 best men’s national teams against each other for world domination – and impacts seeding for the 2022 Olympics.

Here’s a quick primer for the next few weeks of international hockey.

The teams

16 countries are participating in the Worlds, split into two groups of eight apiece:

  • Group A: Canada, the United States, Finland, Germany, Slovakia, Denmark, France and Great Britain
  • Group B: Sweden, Russia, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Norway, Latvia, Austria and Italy

Great Britain and Italy were promoted into this tournament after winning the Division 1 World Championship last year.