It is that time of year again as the focus shifts overseas for the 2023 IIHF World Championships. Every year this tournament takes place during the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Those players that did not make the playoffs or will soon be eliminated from the playoffs have a chance to represent their country. This year the tournament takes place in Finland and Latvia.
Unlike previous years, it is the defending gold medalist Team Finland that is favoured to win the 2023 IIHF World Championships. However, they will have some stiff competition from the start. Let’s take a look at the odds.
Finland Favoured To Win 2023 World Championships
2023 World Championship Odds Via Fan Duel
Entering this tournament, there are three teams that can win the gold medal. Finland, Canada, and Sweden. That is not to say teams like Czechia and USA can’t but it is an uphill climb for both teams. Especially the Americans, who do not play together all year. The same can be said for Canada. That is why Finland is the favourite at +230 to win the tournament.
Finland is just a powerhouse at this stage. They have shown they can get it done with homegrown talent and with NHL Players mixed in. Finland’s style of play frustrates teams, not to mention they never quit. In addition, Finland is the defending champion and have won two of the last three tournaments. They will be looking to be the first repeat champion since Sweden in 2016 and 2017. With Kaapo Kakko and Mikko Rantanen on this team, Finland has a real chance to repeat. For Kakko, this will allow him to build confidence, he has never shied away from this stage.
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Other Top-Tier Teams
Canada is right behind Finland. Canada won Gold in 2021 and has finished first or second in six of the past seven tournaments. Devon Levi, Jake Walman, and Adam Fantilli are players to watch for Canada. There is a solid mix of veterans to young players on the team. Canada is always a team that can make a run on this stage.
Sweden is another team with Lucas Raymond and Leo Carlsson leading the way. Sweden like Finland has a knack for this tournament. Europeans love playing for their countries and always show up ready to go. Not to say Canada and the USA don’t but those players wish they were vying for Stanley Cup. Add Hardy Häman Aktell to the mix and Sweden is a dangerous team with good odds to win.
The Americans and Czechia cannot be discounted. Team USA is young. But have won four bronze medals at this tournament since 2004. Team USA is in a tough Group with Finland and Sweden. So they have to make their wins and points count. Czechia won bronze last year, so expectations are that and more this year. We have seen what this program is doing at the World Junior Stage, let’s see if that momentum from there and the Women’s Worlds can carry over to the Men’s Worlds/
You don’t want to miss any of the action as the 2023 IIHF World Championships get underway on Friday, May 12th and run through May 28th.
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