Ice Hockey World Championship 24 Preview

Read up on the upcoming ice hockey tournament!

The Ice Hockey World Championship takes place in Czechia starting on the 10th May with the final to be played on the 26th of May and will be played in two venues, in Prague and Ostrava. The host nation qualified automatically and there were thirteen other automatic qualifiers with Great Britain and Poland making it through by winning promotion at the 2023 IIHF World Championship Division 1.

A total of sixteen countries will be participating in this year’s tournament starting with world number one team Canada down to Poland, who are currently ranked 22nd. These sixteen teams have been split into two groups of eight as follows:

Group A

  • Canada
  • Finland
  • Switzerland
  • Czechia
  • Denmark
  • Norway
  • Austria
  • Great Britain

Group B

  • United States
  • Germany
  • Sweden
  • Slovakia
  • Latvia
  • France
  • Kazakhstan
  • Poland

Each team will face all of the other seven teams in their group, resulting in 28 games being played in each group. The opening matches will see Slovakia take on Germany and Switzerland play against Norway before the home nation, Czechia play against Finland and Sweden are up against the USA. The top four from each group will go through to the final eight and play each other in the quarter-finals and will advance further from there. There will be a third place or bronze match game played and the gold and silver medals will be decided in the final on the 26th of May.

The 16 teams are divided into two groups for the Preliminary Round played in a single round robin.

The top-four ranked teams of each group advance to the quarter-finals that will be played cross-over. The first-place team in each preliminary-round group plays the fourth-place team of the other group, while the second-place team plays the third-place team of the other group. 1A-4B, 2A-3B, 1B-4A, 2B-3A.

The venues and time slots of the quarter-final games will officially be determined following the conclusion of the preliminary round.


In 2023 it was Canada that won their 28th title and they will be hoping to add yet another title to that list. Home nation Czechia have won the third most titles, twelve in total, and will be optimistic that home advantage will be able to push them towards another title.

Betting on the tournament

This time around there is no clear favourite to win the tournament, something which should make it an interesting couple of weeks. Three teams, Sweden, Canada and USA, go into the event as joint favourites, with Finland and hosts Czechia next on the list. Canada are the current number one ranked team, in the 2023 rankings, with Finland ranked second and Russia third, followed by the US and Germany. The rank outsiders this time round are Great Britain and Poland, the two qualifiers given no hope of springing a surprise. 

As well as outright winners, one can place bets on the progress of each team as well as the outright top goalscorer and the leading goalscorer for a particular team, amongst other bets. One can also focus attention on betting on each individual match with a number of team and individual bets on offer. The opening match sees Slovakia take on Germany with Slovakia as favourites to win. One can also back Money Line odds as well as handicap markets and the total number of goals. As well as finding the right selection for the whole match, one can also bet on each individual period. As well as this one can also bet on player and team specials. Defending Champions Canada start off with a very easy match against bottom ranked Great Britain.  


The Canadians are the easy team pick as the betting favourite to win the World Championship. They’ve won the most gold medals in IIHF history with 28 tournament wins.

Since 2015, Canada has won four World Championship titles. As well as being a true Ice Hockey nation, the 2024 team is shaping up to have a strong roster in this tournament in Czechia. Canada will have rookie phenom Conor Bedard on their side. However, they will not have the luxury of sending Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon, and Cale Makar to the World Championship. The Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche are on to the second round, so they can be ruled out.

The Finnish squad has found success at the IIHF World Championship in recent memory. They won their fourth gold medal in 2022, only three years after winning their third in 2019, so they certainly cannot be ruled out. 

Team Finland is regarded as one of the top favourites in the IIHF betting odds again this season. Given their quality and growing pool of young players, Finland are likely to be major players for some time. However, much to the relief of Canada and the other top teams at the 2024 World Championship, Finland will be without some of their best playmakers.

The Swedes are generally a wildcard and unpredictable at the IIHF World Championship. It’s one of the most difficult teams to get a real idea on when it comes to international competition. In 2017 and 2018, Sweden won back-to-back IIHF titles. Since then, however, Sweden haven’t won a medal of any sort. This recent history is certainly a disappointment for a team that won three championships from 2013 to 2018.

That said, playing in a very beatable Group B puts Sweden in a decent position. Against this weak competition, Sweden will likely earn a top seed for the knockouts, something that will certainly give them an advantage in the latter stages.

With Bedard confirming that he will play for Team Canada, the Canadians received a significant boost. After the Blackhawks failed to reach the playoffs, Bedard will be well rested and motivated in this tournament. Depth, it would appear, is the ultimate advantage for Canada in this tournament. All these squads will have solid talent, but Canada’s depth should ultimately prevail. 

As mentioned, Sweden have the advantage of being on the ‘right’ side of the draw, but their unpredictability over recent years makes them somewhat of a wildcard. The obvious team to back is Canada, yet again but perhaps some value can be found in Czechia as the home nation. 

Last updated: 09.05.2024