2015 World Ice Hockey Championships In Prague End

The 2015 IIHF World Ice Hockey Championship, being staged in Prague and Ostrava for the first time since 2004, came to an end on Sunday night with Canada comprehensively outplaying Russia to win the gold medal 6-1 at the O2 Arena. The one-sided nature of the contest dampened the spirits of the overwhelmingly pro-Russian crowd, particularly in the second period when Canada scored 3 unanswered goals in quick succession.

There was little arguing with the result, the match ending with the dominant Canadians having fired 37 shots on target compared to just 12 for the defending champions. The Canadian team completed a clean sweep at this year’s tournament, winning all 10 of its games and conceding just a single goal in the knockout stages. Canada’s gold medal at this tournament adds to the Olympic titles won by the team in 2010 and at Sochi in 2014.

The Czech national team had earlier stormed to the semi finals, memorably defeating Finland in the last eight, but their hopes were dashed as they lost 2-0 to eventual champions Canada in the semi-finals, and were subsequently beaten 3-0 by the USA in the bronze medal play-off. Some small consolation followed for the Czech team and its fans, as the veteran 43-year-old forward, Jaromir Jagr, was presented with the most valuable player (MVP) award in the ice hockey legend’s final tournament for his country. Jagr had earlier netted 2 goals including the winner against Finland, in the process becoming the oldest player ever to score at the world championships.

In what fans have been hailing as the best tournament in recent memory, Prague has seen hundreds of thousands of ice hockey fans descend on it from the sport’s traditional powerhouse countries, creating a festival of colour and full-on party atmosphere that has undoubtedly sent tournament sponsor Krušovice Brewery’s beer sales soaring. It is hard for non-hockey fans to appreciate the scale of these championships, as painted faces, banners flying from cars, and flags draped from apartment windows have become a familiar sight across the city. With the Czech national soccer team having made little global impact in recent years, it is little wonder that the country delights in seeing its ice hockey stars match the world’s finest every year at these championships. Next stop Russia in 2016.


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