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IIHF World Championships: dates, schedule and how to watch hockey tournament for free

Everything you need to know about the Ice Hockey World Championships, including how to tune into the action on television.

It’s that time of year again when some of the best ice hockey have to offer go head-to-head in a bid to land the World Championship.

At this time of year, much of the attention remains on the NHL playoffs and the race for the Stanley Cup as North America’s prize Ice Hockey competition gets down to the business end.

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But elsewhere, we have the Ice Hockey World Championships, which get going on Friday.

Canada will be looking to defend their title after coming out on top last year, but they will face a stern challenge from a number of nations, including host Finland.

Here’s what you need to know about the competition.

When is it?

The Ice Hockey World Championship begins on Friday, May 13 and it will run for for just over two weeks, concluding on May 29.

Two games began simultaneously to get the tournament going, with the United States taking on Latvia and France taking on Slovakia.

Schedule

There are 16 teams involved in the competition, and the nations are split up into two groups of eight.

Up until May 24, each team will play the other seven teams in their group.

On May 26, all four quarter finals will be played, with the top two from each group progressing.

The semi-finals will take place on May 28, while the losers in the penultimate stage will face off in a third-place playoff on May 29.

The final will take place later that day, also at the Nokia Arena.

The groups

Group A will contain Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Slovakia, Denmark, Kazakhstan, Italy and France.

Group B features Finland, United States, Czech Republic, Sweden, Latvia, Norway, Great Britain and Austria.

Venues

This year’s Championships will be held in Finland and across two cities.

Tampere is the main host, with the Nokia Arena hosting the biggest games, while some games will also be played in Helsinki - the Helsinki Ice Hall will be the host of a number of group games, as well as two quarter-finals.

Around a two hour drive separates the two cities.

Is it on TV in the UK?

The Ice Hockey World Championships will be shown live on Freesports.

FreeSports will show coverage of all of Great Britain’s games, and it will also show a number of other group games, as well as all the knockout rounds.

FreeSports, as the name suggests, is free, and you can find it on Freeview Channel 65, Sky channel 422, Virgin 553, TalkTalk 64 and BT TV channel 64.