Belarus to face Slovakia in 2021 IIHF World Championship opener

Belarus will open the 2021 IIHF World Championship against Slovakia in Riga on 21 May, BelTA has learned.

The Group B match will be played at the Olympic Sport Center. The faceoff is at 20.10. Belarus 5 TV channel will broadcast the match live.

Ahead of the IIHF World Championship Belarus played a number of friendlies against Austria (5-1), Hungary (3-2), Russia (3-6 and 0-2), Germany (4-1 and 0-2), and Kazakhstan (0-2). One more match against Kazakhstan was canceled due to a coronavirus positive test of one of the Kazakhstan’s players.

Belarus’ final roster for the 2021 IIHF World Championship:

goalies: Aleksei Kolosov, Danny Taylor (both – HC Dinamo Minsk, KHL), Konstantin Shostak (HC Severstal, KHL).

defensemen: Andrei Antonov (HC Yunost Minsk), Nick Bailen (HC Traktor, KHL), Stepan Falkovsky, Dmitry Znakharenko, Ilya Shinkevich, Ilya Solovyov, Vladislav Yeremenko (all HC Dinamo Minsk, KHL), Yevgeny Lisovets, Dmitry Korobov (both – HC Salavat Yulaev, KHL), and Kristian Henkel (HC Ak Bars, KHL).

forwards: Egor Sharangovich (New Jersey Devils, NHL), Andrei Belevich (HC Torpedo, KHL), Geoff Platt (HC Salavat Yulaev, KHL), Artem Demkov (HC Dinamo Minsk, KHL), Francis Pare, Nikita Komarov (both – HC Avangard, KHL), Shane Prince (HC Avtomobilist, KHL), Vladislav Kodola (HC Severstal, KHL), Sergei Kostistyn (Bratislava Capitals, Slovakia, ICEHL), German Nesterov (HC Gomel), Sergei Drozd, Stanislav Lopachuk, Mikhail Stefanovich (all – HC Yunost Minsk), Danila Klimovich (2003, Minskiye Zubry, Supreme League), Alexei Protas (Hershey Bears, AHL).

Slovakia held two friendlies ahead of the championship, losing 1-2 and 0-2 to the Czech Republic.

The tournament is taking place amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and the IIHF and tournament organizers have prepared safety protocols for teams and referees to minimize the possibility of infection. Teams are constantly being tested for coronavirus and are not allowed to leave the hotel except for travel to practices and matches. If a player comes to the national team after 16 May, he is quarantined for three days and tested daily for coronavirus. If they come back negative, the athlete may resume training, but still has to make daily tests for three more days. The athlete will be allowed to participate in matches only on the seventh day, in case of six negative tests.

The 2021 IIHF world Championship will be divided into two groups for the preliminary round:

Group A will feature Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Slovakia, Denmark, Belarus and the UK.

Group B will include Canada, Finland, the United States, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Italy and Kazakhstan.

Belarus’ group stage schedule:

21 May – Belarus v Slovakia

23 May – Sweden v Belarus

24 May – Czech Republic v Belarus

26 May – Belarus v the UK

28 May – Denmark v Belarus

30 May – Belarus v Switzerland

1 June – Russia v Belarus.

The four best teams in each group will advance to the quarterfinal. There will be no relegated teams this year.

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