IHLC Preview – 2023 Women’s World Championship

For the first time since 2017, the IIHF Women’s World Championship will return to North America in front of fans, with the Toronto suburb of Brampton, Ontario, Canada hosting the 22nd edition of the tournament from 05-16 April, with all games held at the CAA Centre.

Group A has a newer look this year, with perennial contenders Canada and the United States this time competing against Switzerland, Japan and newcomers Czechia, who shocked the hockey world with a stunning Bronze medal finish, crossing over from Group B to dispatch Finland, who is now demoted to Group B for the first time since the tournament format changed in 2012. While it seems an inevitability for Canada and Team USA to clash in the Gold Medal Game yet again, for the 21st of 22 total finals, with Canada looking for its third straight title on home ice, the Czechs will look to play an even larger spoiler this time around, and are a relative unknown in head-to-head competition against the big two.

Group B, as noted, now sees theย Naisleijonatย relegated to playing against Sweden, Hungary, Germany and newly-promoted France, with only the top three squads qualifying for the medal rounds. While the Finns appear to be in free-fall, a far cry from their 2019 Silver medal (which to many, should have in fact been a Gold), they should manage to finish atop the group, while the middle of the group will look to avoid heading to the relegation round, likely to face France, pending a Czech-style surprise that Les Bleus have in store for the rest of the tournament.

Click here to see the full World Women’s Championship schedule

From the perspective of the IHLC, a few interesting facts related to this yearโ€™s Women’s World Championship, starting on 05 April:
โ€“ Canada enters as incumbent IHLC champions for the second straight year, and for the sixteenth time in tournament history (1990-2000, 2005, 2007-09, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2022-23)
โ€“ Canada is looking to win its third consecutive Gold for the first time since 2004, when they won the first eight World Championship titles straight
โ€“ this will be the fifth time the province of Ontario will host, following Ottawa in 1990 and 2013, Kitchener in 1997 and Mississauga in 2000; this will be the ninth time overall that Canada has hosted
โ€“ this will be the first tournament held in April, the tournament’s usual month, since 2019, following a cancelled tournament in 2020 (due to COVID-19), a summer tournament in 2021 (also due to COVID-19) and a summer tournament in 2022 (due to the 2022 Olympics in February)
โ€“ this year’s tournament sees the return of France to the Top Division for the first time since 2019, replacing relegated Denmark in Group B; the tournament also sees surprising Bronze medallists Czechia in Group A for the first time in tournament history
โ€“ returning stars from 2022’s tournament include tournament MVP, Top Forward and tournament All-Star Taylor Heise (United States), Top Defender and All-Star Daniela Pejลกovรก (Czechia), and All-Stars Sarah Fillier (Canada), Caroline Harvey and Amanda Kessel (United States)

Photo Credit: 2022 Women’s World Championshipย โ€“ IIHF โ€“ HHOF โ€“ IOC



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