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Canada-United States game to open 2016 WJC @NHLdotcom

Canada and the United States will play on the first day of the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.

The schedule for the 2016 tournament, which will be held in Helsinki, Finland, will see the two North American teams playing Dec. 26 in a Group A preliminary-round game at 8,200-seat Helsinki Ice Hall.

In recent years a U.S.-Canada preliminary-round game had been saved for a showcase game Dec. 31, the final day of the group play.

After the U.S., Canada will play Denmark on Dec. 28, Switzerland on Dec. 29 and Sweden on Dec. 31.

Canada beat Russia 5-4 to win the gold medal at the 2015 WJC, which was held in Montreal and Toronto.

After playing Canada, the United States will play Sweden on Dec. 28, Switzerland on Dec. 30 and Denmark on Dec. 31.

The U.S. lost to Russia in the quarterfinals last year and finished fifth.

The 11-day tournament will run Dec. 26 through Jan. 5, 2016, at the two biggest ice rinks in the Finnish capital, Helsinki Ice Hall and 13,665-seat Hartwall Arena.

Host Finland will play against 2015 silver medalist Russia, bronze-medal winner Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Belarus in Group B at Hartwall Arena, home to KHL team Jokerit Helsinki. The gold-medal game will be played at Hartwall Arena on Jan. 5.

The 2017 WJC is scheduled to take place in Montreal and Toronto, with Montreal hosting the gold-medal game. The 2018 tournament will be held in the United States at a site to be determined.

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