Luxembourg is hosting this year's International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship Division III - Group A at Patinoire Kockelscheuer from Sunday 3 April to Friday 8 April 2022.
The IIHF World Championship Division III is an annual sports event organised by the IIIHF. Division III was the lowest level of the IIHF World Championships until the creation of Division IV in 2020. The 2022 IIHF World Championship Division III - Group B tournament already took place in Cape Town, South Africa from 13 to 18 March 2022 (winner: South Africa).
Speaking to Chronicle.lu, Liam McEvoy, the exclusive livestream producer and media manager for the IIHF World Championship Division III - Group A in Luxembourg, explained that the tournament was originally scheduled to take place in 2020, but was postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst Luxembourg has hosted the world championship four times before, this marks the first time in almost a decade (since 2014).
Luxembourg will host Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Chinese Taipei during this six-day tournament. North Korea were also supposed to take part in the original 2020 tournament but, in early February 2022, the DPR Korea Ice Hockey Association withdrew its national teams due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions. All five teams will play each other in a league format with the winning team on Friday being promoted to Division II - Group B.
When asked about the competition favourites, Mr McEvoy, who has been producing videos for Luxembourg hockey teams for the past seven years, noted that from his perspective, there was "no clear-cut favourite". Previous meetings with Luxembourg had been one-goal games. He also explained that out of eight groups, Luxembourg was in the sixth group, which he described as decent "considering its size" and the fact that there are only two ice rinks in the Grand Duchy.
Luxembourg's men's team currently rank 41st out of 55 IIHF teams.
Regarding the Luxembourg ice hockey scene in general, Liam McEvoy noted that its popularity has "exploded" in the past five to six years. Brand awareness and sponsorship are growing and the quality of play on the ice is increasing as more (young) people get involved. Ice hockey matches generally attract large audiences in Luxembourg, with between 400 and 700 spectators attending home games, explained Mr McEvoy, who initiatlly ran the social media channels for local teams such as Tornado Luxembourg and Puckers Luxembourg. Over the past two seasons, his role has expanded to being responsible for livestreaming the games - recently the Luxembourg Ice Hockey Federation hired his company to livestream all ten games in Kockelscheuer.
The first game of the 2022 IIHF World Championship Division III - Group A will take place on Sunday 3 April 2022 at 15:30, when the UAE will face Turkmenistan.
Entry is free for games in which Luxembourg are not playing; all Luxembourg games are ticketed and cost €10 per person (under-12s go free). Tickets are available at https://www.icehockey.lu/page/tickets-107160.
Sunday 3 April 2022 @ 15:30: UAE vs Turkmenistan
Sunday 3 April 2022 @ 19:00: Turkey vs Luxembourg
Monday 4 April 2022 @ 15:30: Chinese Taipei vs UAE
Tuesday 5 April 2022 @ 15:30: Chinese Taipei vs Turkey
Tuesday 5 April 2022 @ 19:00: Turkmenistan vs Luxembourg
Wednesday 6 April 2022 @ 15:30: UAE vs Turkey
Thursday 7 April 2022 @ 15:30: Turkmenistan vs Chinese Taipei
Thursday 7 April 2022 @ 19:00: Luxembourg vs UAE
Friday 8 April 2022 @ 15:30: Turkey vs Turkmenistan
Friday 8 April 2022 @ 19:00: Luxembourg vs Chinese Taipei