The 2021 World Para Ice Hockey Championships will take place from 19-26 June in Ostrava, Czech Republic. The top eight teams from around the world will compete for five Paralympic qualification spots. Follow along as we break down what you need to know about each team.
Background: Slovakia is one of the most hockey obsessed countries in the world, having won four World Championship medals on the able-bodied side of the sport and producing several NHL stars. This will mark the first time the nation competes in the World Para Ice Hockey Championships A-Pool after finishing in second place at the B-Pool edition of the event in 2019. The team is coming off a third-place finish at the Continental Cup in Sochi, Russia, where it defeated Kazakhstan, 11-0, in the medal round.
World Ranking: 8th
World Championships History: Making their World Championships debut
Athlete to Watch: Eduard Lepacek was named Best Goalkeeper at the World Championships B-Pool in 2019 after Slovakia skated to a 4-1 record, including a 2-1 upset win over China. The above-the-knee amputee allowed just 11 goals on 99 shots at the B-Pool event but will face much stiffer competition in Ostrava.
Matchup to Watch: Slovakia vs. RPC on 19 June at 21:00 (CEST), the first day of the tournament, will be a rematch of the gold-medal game from the last World Championships B-Pool. Russia won that game, so Slovakia will be looking for revenge on an even bigger stage.