Germany and France to co-host 2017 IIHF World Championships

Russia will once again face the US at the next year’s International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship which will be held in France and Germany during May.

The two teams met in the bronze medal game at this year’s tournament in Russia, with the hosts running out comfortable 7-2 winners.

Sweden, Slovakia, Germany, Latvia, Denmark and Italy will join Russia and the US in Group A which will be played in Cologne.

Reigning champions Canada will start the defense of their title in Group B in Paris where they will face Finland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Belarus, Norway, France and Slovenia.

Canada claimed their second successive world crown with a stylish 2-0 victory over Finland earlier this month.

The 2017 tournament will be held at the 18,500-seat Lanxess Arena in Cologne and at the recently refurbished 14,500-seat Palais Omnisports Bercy in Paris.

The group stages and quarter-final games will be shared between the two host cities, with the semi-finals and final hosted in Cologne.

The two venues offer a total of 886,000 tickets for the 64 games, an IIHF record.

Organising Committee general secretary Henner Ziegfeld believes hosting the World Championships in two countries is an exciting development for ice hockey.

“We are two nations but we are one host,” he said. “That’s what we are trying to sum up in our slogan ‘Together for 2017’.”

Germany previously hosted the Championships in 2010, but France have not staged the elite level men’s event since 1968.

“I’d like to thank the IIHF for giving this opportunity to a country like us,” added Luc Tardiff, President of the French Ice Hockey Federation.

“It would be a bit too much for us to welcome 16 teams on our own, but now we can share the experience of our partner.

“I think this will show a way forward for other countries like France.”

Fans wishing to watch games in both countries will be able to use the Thalys bullet train with a trip between the two venues taking around three-and-a-half hours.

Russia currently lead the way in World Championship victories with 27 gold medals ñ 22 as the Soviet Union ñ with Canada just one behind with 26.