Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Reamining 2009/2010 International Events

With the 2010 Winter Olympic Games now over with, the U.S.A. is looking to continue it's momentum where the Americans have won medals in nearly every major tournament its entered in this season. It started back in November where the Americans won the World Junior A Challenge in Prince Edward Island.

Then the Americans had a gold rush just after the New Years Holiday with winning both the U17 World Challenge in the Central Ontario City of Timmins. Then a couple of days, it was ending the Canadian Domination of the World Junior Championship in Saskatoon Saskatchewan by winning only the nations 2nd ever World Junior Championship Gold Medal as the Americans look ahead to hosting the WJC in New York State next season.

As for the rest of this season, pretty much all of the non IIHF Events are done with for the year. Most of the main attention will come into play as we have 3 Major IIHF Events left this season.

Starting with the World Junior Women's Championship where the U.S.A. has won both of the first 2 Championships in Calgary, Alberta and Fussen, Germany in the tournaments first 2 years.

As you would expect for most Women's Events, Canada will be the main challenger, but they has been some surprises as the Czech Republic has been able to reach the Bronze Medal Game in the events first 2 years in the tournaments short history (Bronze in 2008, 4th Place in 2009). Which is a good sign for the Women's Game as the Czech National Women's Team is in the WWC Division 2 Level right now.

Also, a bit of a surprise of when Switzerland was relegated to this years Division 1 Tournament. They have been seen as the main challenger in Europe to Sweden and Finland in some Women's Events in recent years.

For the first time, the U.S.A. is going to host the World Junior Women's Championship in Chicago this season in late March and early April. Usually this event is held in February, but was pushed back due to the Winter Olympics.

For the U18 World Championship, the U.S.A. is the defending champions here as a dominating game over Russia delivered the U18 World Title as the Americans look to defend the title which will be in Belarus this season.

After finishing 2nd in the Group Stage where Group B ended in a 3 way tie between Russia, the U.S.A. and Finland. The Americans crushed the Czech Republic in the Quarterfinals and held off Canada in the Semifinals after trailing 1-0 at the 2nd intermission to win 2-1 in the 3rd period. Then when the Final came against Russia, where the game was never in doubt where the Americans won 5-0.

This year the U18 World Championship is in Belarus and with teams like Belarus, Latvia and Russia looking to impress this year in front of large home crowds they looking for. Expect another tough battle for Young American Team looking to defend the U18 Gold.

Finally the international season wraps up with the IIHF World Championship in May which will be in Germany. With the Americans finishing in 4th last season in Switzerland, this is the only IIHF Event where the Americans are looking to improve to get on the medal podium this season.

To start the tournament this year, they will be in a part of a World Record Attempt against the Tournament Host Germany at the home of the German Soccer Giants FC Schakle that will look to bring in 75,000 fans in the city of Gelsenkirchen. After the Opening game, the Americans will play Northern European Hopefuls Finland and Denmark who's looking to improve after barely avoiding relegation last year.

With the Americans holding medals in nearly every major tournament over the last calender year. The Americans players at all ages will look to keep the momentum as we go through the later stages of the season to bring home more hardware from the worlds biggest hockey events.

Here's a look at what's left in store for the remaining events for the 2009/2010 International Hockey Tournament Season.

2010 World Junior Women's Championship

Dates and Location: March 27-April 3 in Chicago

Arena: Seven Bridges Arena

Teams and Format

Group A: U.S.A. (Defending Champions), Czech Republic, Finland, Japan (Promoted from 2009 WJWC DIV 1)

Group B: Canada, Sweden, Germany, Russia

The 8 teams will start in 2 groups of 4 playing a round robin format. Then after the Round Robin, the Group Winners will advance automatically to the Semifinals, while the 2nd and 3rd place teams will cross over and play each other.

The Winners will advance to play the Group Winners in the Semifinals will the QF Losers will play each other for 5th and 6th place in this tournament. After the Semifinals, the Winners will play each other for Gold while the Losers will play for the Bronze Medal Game.

In the Relegation Round, the 4th Place Teams will play a best of 3 series where the winner will finish 7th and keep their spot for next season, while the loser will finish 8th and will be relegated to Division 1 for the 2010/2011 season.

2010 U18 World Championship

Dates and Cities: April 13-23 in Minsk & Bobruisk, Belarus

Home Arenas: Minsk Palace & Bobruisk Arena

Teams and Tournament Format

Group A: U.S.A. (Defending Champions), Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Belarus (Promoted from 2009 U18 DIV 1)

Group B: Russia, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Latvia (Promoted from 2009 U18 DIV 1)

Tournament Format: After the Round Robin where each team plays 4 games. The top 3 teams advance to the Knockout Rounds where the Group Winners will automatically advance to the Semifinals.

While the 2nd and 3rd Place Teams will cross over for the Quarterfinals, the winners will advance to play the Group Winners in the Semifinals, while the QF Losers will play for 5th and 6th place. The SF Winners will advance to play for Gold while the Losers play for the Bronze Medal.

In the Relegation round, the 4th and 5th place teams will play the other 2 teams from the opposing groups. The game between the 4th and 5th place teams will carry over and will be part of the Relegation Round Robin. After the Relegation Round, the 1st and 2nd place teams will finish 7th and 8th and keep their spots for the 2011 U18 World Championship.

While the 3rd and 4th place teams will finish 9th and 10th, and they will relegate to the 2011 U18 Division 1 Tournament.

2010 IIHF World Hockey Championship

Dates & Cities: May 7-23 in Cologne, Mannheim, and Gelsenkirchen in Germany

Home Arenas: LANXESS Arena, SAP Arena, Veltins-Arena

Teams and Format

Group A: Russia (Defending Champions), Belarus, Slovakia, Kazakhstan (Promoted from 2009 IHWC DIV 1)

Group B: Canada, Switzerland, Latvia, Italy (Promoted from 2009 IHWC DIV 1)

Group C: Sweden, Czech Republic, Norway, France

Group D: Finland, U.S.A., Germany, Denmark

Tournament Format: The Tournament opens with the 4 1st round groups where the top 3 move on to the 2nd round to form 2 groups of 6. (Groups A & D Combine to make Group E), (Groups B & C Combine to make Group F). In the 2nd Round, the teams will cross over and will carry over the standings from the 2 teams that they advanced to the 2nd Round, while the matches against the 4th place team is dropped.

After the 3 2nd Round Games are finished, the top 4 teams will advance to the Quarterfinals where it becomes a single elimination format to determine the champions. For the 2nd Round, the Groups cross over again where E1 will take on F4, E2 takes on F3 and etc.

The winners play each other in the Semifinals, where the winners will play for Gold, while the losers play for Bronze Medals.

In the Relegation Round, the 4 4th place teams will play a Round Robin Format where the results are thrown out from the Prelim Round. After the 3 game Relegation Round Robin is over, the top 2 teams will finish 13th and 14th, and will keep the spots for the 2011 IHWC tournament. While the 3rd and 4th place teams will finish 15th and 16th, and will be relegated to the Division 1 IHWC Tournament for next season.

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