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2010 IIHF World Championship Preview

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
The 2010 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship will open on Friday, May 7 and run through Sunday, May 23 in Cologne, Gelsenkirchen and Mannheim, Germany.

The Colorado Avalanche will be represented by six NHL players, one prospect and its head coach at the event.

  During the Preliminary Round, the 16 teams are divided into four groups. Each team plays the other three countries in its group in a round-robin format during the opening round, with the top three teams from each group advancing to the Qualification Round. The fourth-place team heads to the Relegation Round.

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Group A – Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Slovakia
The Avalanche will have three players in Group A, with Ruslan Salei serving as Belarus’ captain and both Peter Budaj and Marek Svatos playing for Slovakia.

At last year’s event in Switzerland, Belarus advanced to the Quarterfinal Round before being eliminated by eventual gold-medal winner Russia, giving Belarus the No. 8 spot in the final rankings. Belarus will open this year’s tournament on Sunday against Kazakhstan.

Slovakia placed 10th at the 2009 World Championship after not gaining a berth in the Quarterfinal Round. Slovakia begins this year’s tournament with a big test, as the club will face Russia on Sunday.

Group B – Canada, Italy, Latvia, Switzerland
Kyle Cumiskey and Matt Duchene are both making their World Championship debuts for Team Canada.

The Canadian squad earned the silver medal at the 2009 World Championship after falling to Russia in the title game. Cumiskey, Duchene and their teammates will open the tournament on Saturday against Team Italy.

Group C – Czech Republic, France, Norway, Sweden
Avalanche defense prospect Jonas Holos will be skating in his fifth World Championship for Norway.

Norway, coming off a No. 11 ranking at last year’s event, begins the 2010 World Championship with a matchup against Sweden on Sunday.

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Group D- Denmark, Finland, Germany, United States
Forward T.J. Galiardi will make his U.S. Men’s National Team debut at the 2010 World Championship, and he’ll be accompanied by a familiar face. Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco is serving as an assistant coach for Team USA at the event.

Sacco was also an assistant a year ago, when the Americans finished in fourth place following a loss to Sweden in the bronze-medal game. Team USA will open the World Championship by facing host Germany on Friday in the first contest of this year’s event.

Tournament Format: Following the Preliminary Round, the teams with the top three point totals from each group will advance to the Qualification Round and be broken into two groups. Group A and Group D will combine to become Group E, while Group B and Group C will merge to form Group F.

In the Qualification Round, each team will play three games within its new group, not facing those teams they played in the first round (for example, in the newly formed Group E, teams from Group A will face those from Group D and vice versa).

The top four teams from both Group E and Group F will advance to the Quarterfinal round, where they will play cross-over games against each other. From there, the four winners move on to the medal round.

A Deeper Look: To follow all of the action from the 2010 IIHF Men’s World Championship, visit, the official website of the International Ice Hockey Federation. will also be providing daily updates on how the Avalanche’s players are faring at the event. For a direct link to the tournament schedule, click here.
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