The World Para Ice Hockey Championships, previously postponed from May 1-8 due to COVID-19, have been rescheduled for June 19-26, 2021.
The World Championships will take place once again in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Ostrava has hosted the para hockey championships three previous times, including a very successful 2019 event that drew nearly 65,000 enthusiastic spectators. Due to the pandemic there are no ticket sales at this point, but the action will be broadcast online for a growing para hockey fanbase around the world.
The United States team will return as the defending World Champions and will be joined by silver medal team Canada, and bronze medal team South Korea. Host nation Czech Republic, Norway, Italy, Russia, and Slovakia round out the eight teams who will be competing. Russia and Slovakia earned their spots in the A-pool championships with their first and second place finishes in B-pool competition.
The 2021 World Championships will set the stage for the 2022 Beijing Paralympics. The top five finishers at Worlds in June will earn automatic bids to compete in Beijing. The remaining three teams will compete in a qualifying tournament to earn their spot at the 2022 Paralympics. Team USA is the reigning gold medalist in Paralympic competition.
Although the United States’s official roster won’t be finalized until after several pre-camps later this spring, it is a safe bet that Nashville will be represented on the ice in June. Nashville has earned a reputation for sled hockey development and training and has attracted some of the top talent in the country to Middle Tennessee.
The 2019 World Championship’s leading scorer—and arguably the top para hockey player in the world—forward Declan Farmer trains in Nashville with previous National Team members Joseph Woodke, Brody Roybal, Travis Dodson, and Josh Hargis. Previous National Team members Josh Misiewicz and Jack Wallace are back on the ice after being sidelined by injuries and both are looking to get back to the World Championships. National Development Team members and Nashville-connected players John Curtin, Nick Elliot, and Ben Maenza are looking to earn a spot on the National Team as well.
On the Forecheck will be introducing fans to the US Men’s National Team and the Nashville para hockey athletes in the months leading up to puck drop in Ostrava. We will also be covering the World Para Hockey Championships in June.