World Para Ice Hockey is looking for countries to host two of the sport’s biggest events in 2019.
Bids are now being accepted to host the 2019 World Championships A-Pool and B-Pool, with interested countries invited to complete the Bid Interest Form by 7 December 2017.
The 2019 World Para Ice Hockey Championships A-Pool will be the first major competition following the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, and is expected to build on the Games’ success in terms of team performances, media coverage and awareness for the sport.
Teams expected to take part in the A-Pool are Canada, the USA, Italy, Norway, South Korea and Sweden. Czech Republic and Japan will complete the tournament line up after being promoted from the 2016 World Championships B-Pool.
The 2019 World Para Ice Hockey Championships B-Pool aims to be a six-team tournament.
Following the closure of the bidding, World Para Ice Hockey will then announce both organisers in the spring of 2018.
Additionally, the bid process for the 2018 World Championships C-Pool is still open until 30 October 2017, with the organiser to be selected early next year.
Barbora Kohoutova, Interim World Para Ice Hockey Manager said: “We need to build off the momentum from PyeongChang 2018, and the World Championships A-Pool and B-Pool will do just that and give teams another exciting event to look forward to.
“We are seeing athlete performances rising and the sport growing in many nations. After the Paralympic Winter Games, many nations and teams will want to continue to challenge themselves, and we are offering organisers a chance not only to stage one of the most thrilling, action-packed Para sports but also play a role in growing the Paralympic Movement.”
The last edition of the A-Pool was held in Gangneung, South Korea, which also served as the Test Event for PyeongChang 2018. Seven of the top teams battled for five qualification spots for the Paralympic Winter Games, with Canada dethroning the USA to claim their fourth world title. South Korea snagged the bronze medal from Norway for their second-highest finish in event history, giving home fans an taste of what lies ahead at the Paralympics next March. Italy grabbed the last qualification spot from that event. The last spots for PWG2018 will be awarded at the Ostersund 2017 World Para Ice Hockey Paralympic Winter Games Qualification Tournament in October.
Tomakomai, Japan, hosted four teams for the World Championships B-Pool in 2016. Earlier that year also saw the first ever C-Pool competition, which was held in Novi Sad, Serbia, and saw three teams contend on the ice.
Kohoutova said: “Being able to hold the second ever World Championships C-Pool is a great sign of the sport’s development. In 2016 we saw Austria, Finland and a combined team of Belgium and the Netherlands compete on the ice. For next year, we expect to have new emerging nations participate and make their debut.”
Bid Interest Forms, as well as further information in hosting the World Championships A-Pool, B-Pool and C-Pool can be found at www.worldparaicehockey.org.