One of hockey’s premier international tournaments is set to take place in Prague and Ostrava, Czechia starting May 10 as 16 national teams from around the globe meet for the 2024 IIHF World Championship. The Sharks will be represented by six players across five teams, with forwards Luke Kunin and prospect Will Smith on the United States, defenseman Jan Rutta competing for host Czechia, forward Mikael Granlund representing Finland, forward Nico Sturm competing for Germany and forward Fabian Zetterlund donning the sweater of his native Sweden.


The 16-team field is split into two groups to start:

Group A: Austria, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, Norway, Switzerland

Group B: France, Germany, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, United States

The tournament begins with a round robin within each group to determine the top four teams from each to advance to the quarterfinal round. Teams will earn three points for a win, two points for an overtime or shootout win, and one point for an overtime or shootout loss during the round robin to determin the seeding.

The top-eight teams (four from each group) will play in a single-elimination tournament which will be played in a ‘cross-over’ format (i.e. the top team from ‘A’ plays the fourth-ranked team from ‘B’, the second-best team from ‘A’ plays the third-best team from ‘B’).

The four remaining teams then will compete in the semifinals, which re-rank matchups to the best team from the round-robin, with the best-ranked team playing the lowest ranked team. The two teams that win the semifinal matchups then meet for the championship, with the winner taking home gold and the loser silver. The two teams who lost in the semifinal will meet for a chance to win bronze.

The preliminary round will take place from May 10-21, followed by the quarterfinals on May 23, semifinals on May 25 and the Gold Medal and Bronze Medal games will take place on May 26. A full schedule is available here.

The action will be televised on NHL Network.



Kunin, 26, totaled 18 points in 77 games with San Jose in the 2023-24 season, posting 11 goals and seven assists. The Sharks’ alternate captain and Chesterfield, Missouri native will be wearing the stars and stripes for the fourth time in his career, having previously played for the USA in the 2019 World Championship, 2017 World Junior Championship (Gold Medal) and 2015 U-18 World Junior Championship (Gold Medal).


Smith, 19, enters the tournament after posting a historic freshman season with Boston College, leading the nation in scoring with 71 points, the most by a NCAA U-19 skater since 1993-94, and earning spots on the Frozen Four All-Tournament Team, AHCA East First Team All-America and Hockey East First All-Star Team. The Lexington, Massachusetts native earned Hockey East Tournament MVP honors and was a Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist. In international play, the 2023-24 Sharks Prospect of the Year presented by Kaiser Permanente earned a Gold Medal with the USA in the 2024 World Junior Championship, posting nine points (four goals, five assists) in seven games. He was named Tournament MVP in the 2023 U-18 World Junior Championship, helping lead the USA to a Gold Medal with 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists) in seven games, and he represented the United States at the 2022 U-18 World Junior Championship.


Rutta, 33, finished one point shy of his career high in the 2023-24 campaign, posting five goals and 14 assists in 69 games. He finished second among Sharks defensemen in points, and was third in goals and assists. The Pisek, Czechia native represented his native country at the 2018 and 2019 World Championships and also competed for the national junior team in various tournaments from 2006-07 through 2009-10.


Granlund, 32, was voted Sharks Player of the Year after leading the team with 60 points in 69 games, including a team-high 48 assists. He finished the season with points in each of the final 13 games, the longest point streak by a forward in Sharks history. It was the fourth time in Granlund’s career that the forward reached the 60-point mark in a year and his 48 assists were his second-most in a season. The Oulu, Finland native previously represented Finland six times at the World Championship (2011, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2018, and 2022), 2017 World Cup, 2014 Olympics, twice at the World Junior Championship (2010, 2012) captaining the squad in 2012, and twice at the U-18 World Junior Championship (2009, 2010). He also competed on Finland’s U-16 and U-17 national teams in the 2007-08 season.


Sturm, 29, posted 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in 63 games with the Sharks this season. One of the premier players at the dot in the NHL, Sturm finished fourth in the league (min. 100 faceoffs) with a 60.1-percent clip on faceoffs, the fourth-best season in San Jose’s franchise history on draws (min. 100 faceoffs).  The Augsburg, Germany native previously represented his home country at the 2023 World Championship, winning a Silver Medal, as well as at the 2015 World Junior Championship. He also represented German junior national teams in various tournaments in 2013-14 (U-20) and 2012-13 (U-18).


Zetterlund, 24, led San Jose with 24 goals and finished the 2023-24 campaign with career highs across all scoring categories, also posting 44 points and 20 assists. Zetterlund closed the campaign with a strong final 10 games, posting nine points (four goals, five assists). He finished second on the club with six power-play goals and matched countryman William Eklund with 16 power-play points, also second-most on the club. The Karlstad, Sweden native competed for his home country at the 2023 World Championship, World Junior Championship (2018 and 2019) and 2017 U-18 World Junior Championship, and he also competed for Sweden’s U-16 and U-17 national teams in 2014-15 and 2015-16, respectively.