Hockey’s Greatest Set To Sq. Off In Historic 2022 IIHF Girls’s World Championship

August 25, 2022

The highest gamers in girls’s hockey work as allies as they attempt to construct a greater basis for his or her sport. However on the ice, these friendships are put aside. And this week, historical past is being made as these prime gamers go head-to-head on the 2022 IIHF Girls’s World Championship.

For the primary time, the event is being held in Denmark, house of the Tenth-ranked federation within the present Worldwide Ice Hockey Federation world rankings.

This 12 months additionally marks the primary time that the ladies will compete in a separate world championship occasion in an Olympic 12 months. Girls’s Worlds made its debut in 1990. Then, tournaments have been held in 1992, 1994 and 1997 earlier than girls’s hockey was added as an Olympic sport in Nagano, Japan in 1998.

After that, girls’s hockey obtained an annual international showcase. However each fourth 12 months, that may be on the Winter Olympics somewhat than at a stand-alone world championship.

On the lads’s aspect, the IIHF doubled up a world championship with the Olympics for the primary time in 1992, and has continued to take action ever since.

This 12 months’s girls’s occasion marks one other vital step towards gender parity in hockey, however discrepancies nonetheless stay.

As one instance, the IIHF holds only one prospect-level event every year for girls: the World U18 Championship. On the lads’s aspect, gamers take part within the U18 event earlier than they’re eligible to be drafted by NHL groups. Then, they’ll play on the U20, also called World Juniors — primarily a showcase for gamers who’ve been drafted however not but settled in as full-time NHL gamers, and arguably the most well-liked IIHF occasion for hockey followers in North America.

On Wednesday, the ladies’s sport additionally received a lift when EA Sports activities introduced that Canadian ahead Sarah Nurse was becoming a member of Trevor Zegras of the Anaheim Geese on the duvet of its new NHL 23 sport, out this fall.

The quilt announcement comes after playable girls’s gamers on their nationwide groups have been added for the primary time in an growth for NHL 22 final January, simply forward of the Olympics in Beijing.

2022 Girls’s Worlds Format

This 12 months’s girls’s worlds event will characteristic some youngsters, together with promising 19-year-old defender Caroline Harvey of america and ahead Sanni Vanhanen of Finland, who turned 17 on July 1.

In 2018, the womens’ Olympic and world tournaments expanded from eight groups to 10. However in contrast to the mens’ occasions, groups are tiered into two teams, primarily based on their world rankings.

As a world sport, girls’s hockey is rising in popularity. The IIHF cites a world development price of 37% between 2007 and 2018, and USA Hockey exhibits development of 32% within the final decade, with 66,692 feminine gamers of all ages registered in 2011-12 and 87,971 in 2021-22.

However a big hole nonetheless exists between the game’s prime two nations and the remainder of the pack. Both Canada or the U.S. has gained gold at each Girls’s World Championship or Olympic Video games. Only one different nation has ever captured silver — Finland, on house ice in on the 2019 Worlds, of their controversial shootout loss to Group USA.

So, event teams are set with an eye fixed towards delivering essentially the most aggressive video games through the round-robin, whereas nonetheless giving most squads the chance to succeed in the knockout spherical and get an opportunity to play for a medal.

This 12 months, Group A will play in KVIK Hockey Area in Herning, positioned in Central Denmark. It’s composed of the highest 4 groups from the IIHF World Rating: Canada, USA, Finland and Switzerland, in addition to sixth-ranked Japan. Russia is ranked fifth however has been suspended from participation in all IIHF occasions since February, following its invasion of Ukraine.

The 5 groups in Group B maintain down spots six via 11 within the rankings: Czechia, Sweden, Germany, Denmark and Hungary. They’ll sq. off at Iscenter Nord in Fredrikshavn, on the northeast coast of Denmark’s Jutland peninsula.

In preliminary-round play, every group will play 4 video games in its group, in round-robin format, between Aug. 25-30. The highest three groups in Group B will then be part of the 5 groups in Group A for the quarterfinals on Sept. 1, and the Group B group that finishes highest will transfer as much as Group A for the 2023 event, which might be held in Canada.

This 12 months’s semifinals might be performed in Herning on Sept. 3, with the medal video games sooner or later later, whereas the bottom two groups in Group B will face off. The winner stays within the prime division for 2023, whereas the loser strikes all the way down to Division 1, Group A.

Taking Intention At Canada

The Canadians are the group to beat, after profitable gold over Group USA in Beijing in February and final August, on the 2021 event held outdoors of Calgary. Canadian captain Marie-Philip Poulin, 31, has develop into legendary for her big-game moments. In February, she scored twice within the gold-medal sport, together with the winner, to spice up Canada to Olympic victory over america — and, in doing so, grew to become the primary hockey participant of any gender to attain within the gold-medal sport at 4 Olympics. She additionally tallied the time beyond regulation winner on the 2021 Worlds in Calgary — constructing on a legacy that started in 2010 when, at simply 18 years previous, she scored the one two targets in Canada’s Olympic win over Group USA on house ice in Vancouver.

Canada swept the all-star voting at ahead in Beijing: Poulin and Nurse took house the honors together with teammate Brianne Jenner, who was additionally named event MVP. The trio is about to go well with up in Denmark, however the Canadians might be lacking all-star defender Claire Thompson together with 2021 Worlds MVP Melodie Daoust and veterans Natalie Spooner and Rebecca Johnston.

Earlier than the pandemic hit, it was the People who had the higher hand within the Canada/U.S. rivalry. They’d gained eight of 9 world championships between 2008 and 2019, and eventually claimed Olympic gold for the primary time since 1998 in Pyeongchang in 2018. Hilary Knight was on her method to establishing an extended checklist of latest particular person data throughout the U.S. program, and Kendall Coyne Schofield delivered a viral second for her sport together with her blazing-fast lap across the SAP Middle on the NHL’s 2019 All-Star Sport in San Jose.

Knight, Coyne Schofield and different acquainted names like Amanda Kessel and Alex Carpenter might be again in motion in Herning. However over the previous couple of years, longtime U.S. stalwarts like Meghan Duggan, Dani Cameranesi and the Lamoureux twins have elected to retire from the sport. This time round, the People may even be with out their frequent beginning goaltender, Alex Cavallini, who’s pregnant, in addition to ahead Brianna Decker, who was injured through the Olympics.

For each prime squads, it’s a possibility for younger gamers to make an impression. The teenage defender Harvey has already regarded excellent for the People, whereas Nicole Hensley and Maddie Rooney will get an opportunity to combat it out for the starter’s job in web. Canada’s most promising rising star is 22-year-old ahead Sarah Fillier. She scored eight targets and put up 11 factors in seven video games in Beijing, and has introduced house a pair of gold medals from her first two senior-level world championship occasions during the last 12 months.

All U.S. and Canadian group-play video games might be broadcast dwell, on TSN in Canada and on NHL Community within the U.S. Spherical-robin play kicks off on Thursday, August 25 as Group USA takes on Japan at 9 a.m. ET, adopted by Canada vs. Finland at 1 p.m. ET.

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