World Ice Hockey Championship: Great Britain in group with US and Canada

GB celebrate a goal in the qualifers
GB won four of their five matches to earn promotion from the qualifiers in Hungary

Great Britain will face Canada and the United States - beaten semi-finalists at this year's World Championship - in the group stage of the 2019 World Championship in Kosice, Slovakia.

They will also face Olympic silver medallists Germany, Finland, Denmark, France and hosts Slovakia in their group next May.

GB will be playing at the sport's top level for the first time since 1994.

They secured their place by winning Division 1 Group A last month.

Current world champions Sweden are in Group B along with Switzerland, who they beat in this year's final, Russia, Czech Republic, Norway, Latvia, Austria and Italy.

The top four teams from each group will advance to the quarter-finals with the bottom team in each group relegated to Division 1 Group A.

"Seeing the teams we will be playing next year really makes the magnitude of what we achieved in Budapest hit home," said GB coach Pete Russell.

"It's a fantastic group that awaits us. It's going to be an amazing experience and we will be facing some of the best players on the planet.

"It is something that every one of us will embrace and we will be going to Slovakia with the aim of continuing to surprise people again."

Analysis

BBC ice hockey commentator Seth Bennett

The enormity of playing at ice hockey's elite level may now be starting to hit home for GB players and fans alike. The massive leap the side made in getting promotion this year leaves them with huge task of trying to avoid immediate relegation.

The teams they will play all have superstars. At this year's event, Canada's squad included one of the most exciting players playing the game in Connor McDavid, while the US boasted Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks, who set a new record for points scored with 20.

It is going to be a huge challenge for Pete Russell's team who have already been written off as having no chance of staying up. However, they relish the role of underdogs and already coach Russell will be plotting a way to get the points they need to stay up.

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