The IIHF World Championship is a hockey tournament that occurs every year hosted by the International Ice Hockey Foundation. The IIHF, for short, is the governing body for international ice hockey and was founded in 1908 in Paris, France.
Last year the IIHF World Championship was hosted exclusively in Finland, in Helsinki and Tampere. The home-ice advantage may have proved to be a benefit as Finland walked away with their fourth title, and their first ever on home ice. But, this year, the IIHF World Championship is dually hosted in Tampere, Finland, and Riga, Latvia. Originally, the tournament was set to play in Russia.
But, in February 2022, the International Olympic Committee ruled that Belarus and Russia be stripped of their hosting rights for all sporting events due to their invasion of Ukraine. A little over a year later, the tournament is presently being hosted in the defending champion’s country and the home of Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins, Latvia.
The list of countries that are taking part in the IIHF World Championship is as follows:
- United States
Group A includes Finland, the United States, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Hungary, and France. These eight teams are playing in Tampere, Finland. Group B includes Latvia, Slovenia, Norway, Kazakhstan, Canada, Czechia, Switzerland, and Slovakia. These eight teams are playing in Riga, Latvia.
Four of those countries are represented by five Los Angeles Kings players. Kevin Fiala is suiting up for Switzerland, Cal Petersen and TJ Tynan are suiting up for the United States, Carl Grundstrom is suiting up for Sweden, and Martin Chromiak is suiting up for Slovakia.
Carl Grundstrom (Sweden)
Carl Grundstrom played in 57 NHL games this past season with the Kings. In those 57 games, he recorded 12 goals and 7 assists for a total of 19 points. So far he has played in four games in Finland and has recorded one assist. In their game yesterday against Hungary, he sent a saucer pass to Jacob de la Rose, who put it in bar-down for a two-goal lead.
Kevin Fiala (Switzerland)
Kevin Fiala was the latest King to head over to Finland to don his home country’s colors. Fiala has been an incredible asset to the Kings since arriving in LA from Minnesota. In his first full season as a King, he recorded 23 goals and 49 assists for 72 points. And now, he sheds a black and white sweater for a red and white one.
So far he has played in two games with the Swiss but has yet to record a point. The only statistic he has recorded is a +1.
Cal Petersen (USA)
Cal Petersen got off to an incredibly rough start in the NHL this season. He played in 10 total games at the national level, and then spent the remainder of the season in the AHL on the Ontario Reign. In 40 games in Ontario, he recorded a .904 save percentage and a 2.88 goals-against average. A significant improvement from his stat line as a King, which was a .868 save percentage and a 3.75 goals-against average.
So far in two games with Team USA, he has recorded a 1.00 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage. He is sharing the crease with the Penguins’ Casey DeSmith.
TJ Tynan (USA)
TJ Tynan spent the entire season last year with the Ontario Reign. In 72 games at the AHL level, he recorded 8 goals and 73 assists for 81 points. Since signing with the Kings in 2021, he has only participated in two games at the NHL level. But, he is still very much an important part of this organization.
So far in four games with Team USA, he has recorded three points that came in the form of assists. While his point total may not be the highest right now, Team USA is on a roll right now winning all four of the games they have played.
Martin Chromiak (Slovakia)
Martin Chromiak was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft with the 128th overall pick. Up to this point, he has yet to make his NHL debut, but he did put up decent numbers last season in the AHL. In 55 games with the Reign, he recorded 15 goals and 13 assists for 28 points. That comes out to be about half a point a game. Not too bad for a 20-year-old.
So far in four games played with Slovakia, he has recorded one goal and zero assists. He scored what happened to be the very first goal of the tournament.
It will be exciting to see how these five guys continue to play for their respective countries.
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