After two weeks of will they or won’t they, it’s time once more for the IIHF Women’s World Championships! USA Hockey avoids untold humiliation as the tournament kicks off this afternoon in Plymouth, MI. The first televised game is Canada vs USA at 7:30pm Eastern. Here's what you need to know.
The official tournament website is http://www.worldwomen2017.com/ Rosters, schedules, rules, profiles, the whole shebang is there. They may also have streaming of Group B games, although that’s still unclear. As well, the IIHF has an app! It's available for Apple, Android and Windows mobile devices. You can get notifications on games, goals, even penalties, for all IIHF tournaments this year, so you can follow the Top level tournament and the Division IIA tournament (starting April 1, featuring South Korea) at the same time, if you’re as invested as some others I know.
The tournament is a week long, starting today and finishing with the gold and bronze medal games on Friday, April 7th. The 8 teams involved form the "Top Division" of IIHF play. Three days of round robin preliminary play (March 31, April 1 and 3) will be followed by the playoff rounds and the best of three relegation tournament.
The top two teams in Group A (probably Canada and USA but you never know, Finland and Russia have some pretty good goalies!) after the round robin move to the Semi-Final round automatically. There will be two Quarter-Final games: the third-ranked team in Group A will play the second-ranked team in Group B, and the fourth-ranked team in Group A will play the highest-ranked team in Group B.
The Semi-Final winners will move to the Gold medal game and the Semi-Final losers will play the Bronze medal game
The third and fourth ranked teams in Group B will have a best-of-three relegation tournament, the loser of which will be relegated to Division IA next year. (Results do not have any implications for the seeding at the 2018 Olympics, although they have some bearing on 2022).
So, why should you care? The Olympics are less than a year away and six of these teams will be there (Germany and the Czech Republic were both within one game of making it but lost to Japan and Switzerland, respectively). The rosters we see here will be very similar to the final rosters in Pyeongchang. (As mentioned, if you want to keep an eye on South Korea, who has the host spot in 2018, they’re playing in the Division IIA tournament this week and the IIHF site will have live stats.)
Also c’mon! A large portion of the hockey world has been glued to the story of the US Women’s National Team since March 15th - don’t you want to know how the story ends?
For simplicity’s sake, this post is also going to serve as the GDT for all Friday’s games. Tomorrow’s recap post will double as tomorrow’s GDT. What’s on?
12:00 pm Switzerland vs Czech Republic - a rematch of the game just over a month ago that sent Switzerland to the Olympics and the Czechs home empty-handed. Let’s see if the Czechs have figured out how to handle Lara Stalder. (If you’re in Switzerland, SRF is livestreaming this game)
3:35 pm Sweden vs Germany - these two played a preliminary match against each other this week. Sweden won 3-2 in the shootout. Expect a tight game. (If you happen to live in Sweden, here’s their broadcast schedule)
4:00 pm Finland vs Russia - 2016 Bronze medal game rematch. These teams do not like each other. Penalties and superb goaltending will be the order of the day.
7:35 pm Canada vs USA - You all know what to expect here. Yelling, cursing, flailing, heart palpitations... and that’s just from the fans. Rematch and probable preview of the Gold medal game.
Hang around and get excited with us!