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2015 IIHF World Championships are underway!

TAMPERE – The 16 teams have arrived to play at the 2015 IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship that starts on Sunday in Tampere with all games being streamed live and for free. It will be an event on home soil for defending champion Finland.

The event takes place in the second-largest urban area of Finland from 5th to 11th July. It’s only the second time after Kuopio in 2005 that the Inline Hockey World Championship takes place in Finland and the Finns couldn’t have selected a better year after winning the last edition one year ago in Pardubice, Czech Republic.

In inline hockey history five different countries have so far managed to win gold and they will be in the focus to do so again this year: the United States (6 titles), Sweden (5), Finland (4), Canada (2) and the Czech Republic (1).

Finland will open the event on 5th July against recently promoted Slovenia while Sweden will play the Czech Republic in the other Group A game. In Group B record champion United States will face Germany on the first day while last year’s silver medallist Canada will take on Slovakia.

After three days of round-robin play and a day off, the final round will begin on Thursday with the cross-over quarter-finals.

According to the same format the Division I will be played with the winner being promoted to the top division of the next Inline Hockey World Championship.

At the secondary rink Great Britain, Latvia, Austria and Bulgaria will compete in Group C, and Australia, Croatia, Hungary and Argentina in Group D. Bulgaria returned to Division I play after winning the European qualification tournament in Sofia against Israel, Serbia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia while Argentina also won its qualification tournament at home in Buenos Aires against Hong Kong and Chile.

Storied hockey venue

Tampere is an experienced host for international hockey tournaments. The Tampere Ice Arena, also known as Hakametsa, was originally built to host the 1965 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship and was also one of the venues for the Ice Hockey World Championships in 1982, 1991, 1997 and 2003. Tampere was also the main venue of the 2007 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship and of the 1992 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship.

The 7,300-seat arena, home of the ice hockey teams Ilves and Tappara, also has two additional rinks. The second rink will host the Division I tournament except for the medal games.

With the tournament taking place roughly two weeks after midsummer, participants can enjoy up to 22 hours of sunlight each day. The teams were welcomed in Tampere with up to 26°C and sunshine this week while they will soon have cooler temperatures on competition days.

Among the sights Tampere can offer is also an ice hockey museum with the Finnish Hall of Fame.

All 46 games streamed live

Like in the last three editions the 2015 IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship will be streamed live and for free. This time 46 games from both divisions and rinks will be broadcast on IIHF.com. From the top division game highlights will also be made available.

Click here to access the live stream: Top Division, Division I

Teams registered

Argentina was the first team from abroad to arrive in Tampere already last Sunday while the last team arrived in the evening before the start of the tournament. The team rosters of all teams will be published tonight and can be found here: Top Division, Division I

New Rule Book online

Same as ice hockey also inline hockey got a new rule book for the 2015 season, which can be found on the tournament information page. The book has been completely restructured and redesigned to serve as a standalone rule book for inline hockey.

At the main arena where all top division games will take place a video goal judge system will be used for the first time.

Click here for the 2015 IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship page.

MARTIN MERK