RIGA, LATVIA – The draw to determine the four Preliminary Round groups for the 2006 IIHF World Championship was conducted today in Riga, Latvia, the host city of the 70th flagship event of the IIHF.
Canada, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Slovakia were the top-seeded teams in the four groups of four teams.
Russia, the United States, Finland and Switzerland were seeded in the second level, Latvia, Ukraine, Belarus and Denmark in third level, and Kazakhstan, Slovenia, Norway and Italy in fourth level.
The live televised draw, which was held at Riga’s historic Guild building, pitted the defending IIHF World Champion Czech Republic in the same group as host Latvia and also Finland, while sliver medallist Canada – still on top of the IIHF World Ranking – drew USA and the Scandinavian pair Denmark and Norway in Group D.
The groups (the numbers in brackets indicate the newly calculated IIHF World Ranking following the 2005 IIHF World Championship in Austria):
Group A: Czech Republic (3), Finland (7), Latvia (9), Slovenia (16)
Group B: Sweden (2), Switzerland (8), Ukraine (11), Italy (19)
Group C: Slovakia (4), Russia (5), Belarus (12), Kazakhstan (15)
Group D: Canada (1), USA (6), Denmark (14), Norway (18)
The top three teams from groups A and D will meet each other in the in the second round (Qualifying Round), while the same will be the case with the top three teams from groups B and C.
This creates a potential re-match from the 2005 Gold Medal game between the Czech Republic and Canada already in the Qualifying Round. Other possible matchups in the Qualifying Round are: Latvia-USA, Czech Republic-USA, Sweden-Russia and Canada-Finland.
Canada still on top of world ranking despite final game loss.
Canada hangs on to the top spot in the IIHF World Men’s Ranking despite the loss to Czech Republic in the gold medal game of the 2005 IIHF World Championship in Vienna, Austria. The IIHF World Ranking calculates and awards the teams for the final standings from the four last fours IIHF World Championships (2002, 2003, 20) and the last Olympic Winter Games (2002).
World Champion Czech Republic swapped places with Slovakia to become the new number three-ranked team, while bronze medallist Russia jumped up two positions, from seventh to fifth. Finland, Germany and Austria all lost two positions in the rankings, while Switzerland advanced from ninth to eighth, to gain the important position that secures the last spot in the second tier (level) in the seeding for the draw for the 2006 IIHF World Championship in Riga, Latvia.
The 2005 IIHF World Ranking:
1. Canada (3220 points),
2. Sweden (3095),
3. Czech Republic (3065),
4. Slovakia (2965),
5. Russia (2905),
6. USA (2865),
7. Finland (2865),
8. Switzerland (2715),
9. Latvia (2675),
10. Germany (2580),
11. Ukraine (2490),
12. Belarus (2430),
13. Austria (2430),
14. Denmark (2400),
15. Kazakhstan (2335),
16. Slovenia (2295),
17. France (2150),
18. Norway (2105),
19. Italy (2100),
20. Japan (2090).
If two teams are tied in ranking points, the team with the better final standing in the 2005 IIHF World Championship gets the higher ranking.