As the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan notes, the IIHF World Championship kicks off in Copenhagen and Herning, Denmark this Friday, and Red Wings forward Frans Nielsen is delighted to have the tournament take place in his home country:
“I don’t think anyone ever thought we were going to get a big tournament like that in small Denmark, it’s exciting,” Nielsen said this month, before the Red Wings went their separate ways for the offseason. “You’re going to have friends and family right there. It’ll be different. It means a lot for Danish hockey.”
For a small country, Denmark is beginning to make its mark in the hockey world — though it’s still a slow process. Nielsen is one of only 13 Danish-born players in the NHL. No Danish player, though, has played more than his 764 NHL games. There are only 27 rinks in the entire country, but hockey is beginning to make major inroads in terms of interest.
More than 250,000 tickets have been sold for the world championships, ensuring the majority of games will be either sold out, or close to it.
Also of note from Kulfan:
IIHF men’s world championships
When: May 4-20
Where: Copenhagen and Herning, Denmark.
TV: NHL Network will televise all Team USA’s games, beginning 10 a.m. Friday against Canada.
Local touch: Team USA: Coach Jeff Blashill (Red Wings), Dylan Larkin (Waterford/Red Wings), Nick Jensen (Red Wings), Quinn Hughes (Michigan), Alex DeBrincat (Farmington Hills/Chicago Blackhawks), Alec Martinez (Rochester Hills/Los Angeles Kings), Jordan Oesterle (Dearborn Heights/Chicago Blackhawks).
Denmark: Frans Nielsen (Red Wings)
Czech Republic: Martin Frk (Red Wings)