Slovakia has a “young and fighting” ice hockey team
A mix of young and experienced players will represent Slovakia at the 2018 IIHF World Championship in Denmark, held between May 4 and 20.
The youngest player, Martin Fehérváry, is 18 years old, while the oldest one, Ladislav Nagy, is 38.
The team consists of nine greenhorns, including three goalkeepers. Three NHL players will also assist the team: Christián Jaroš, Andrej Sekera and Tomáš Jurčo.
“We have a young, fighting team,” said Nagy, as quoted by the SITA newswire, expressing hope that if they have good defence, they can defeat anybody.
Coach Craig Ramsay admitted it was hard to select the players to represent the country at the championship, as reported by the TASR newswire.
Slovakia will kick off the tournament with the match against the Czech Republic, scheduled for May 5 (Saturday). The countries have played 62 games against each other. Slovakia lost 41 matches, won 14 and ended 7 in a tie, the SITA newswire reported.
What will the tournament look like?
The 16 teams are divided into two groups for the preliminary round. The games will be held at two places: Copenhagen and Herning.
The top-four ranked teams of each group will advance to the quarter-finals that will be played cross-over. The first-place team in each preliminary-round group plays the fourth-place team of the other group, while the second-place team plays the third-place team of the other group. The winning teams advance to the semi-finals.
The Slovaks are playing in group A of the preliminary round held in Copenhagen, Denmark. They will face teams from Austria, Belarus, the Czech Republic, France, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland.
Based on current IIHF World Rankings, Slovakia is currently ranked 10th.
The two bottom ranked teams will be relegated to the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A.
The 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship will consist of 16 teams, including the team of the organising member national association, thus Slovakia cannot be among the two relegated teams. If Slovakia were last in its group and subsequently among the bottom two teams, the overall ranked 14th-placed team would be relegated instead, according to the official IIHF website.
The teams playing in the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship will be the top-two teams of the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A.