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Versus will air games from the 2011 Men’s IIHF World Championships

Apr 28, 2011, 11:57 AM EDT

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As it turns out, the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs aren’t the only major hockey event that Versus will cover. The network will air at least 11 games from the 75th Annual Men’s International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships, beginning on Saturday, April 30, at 10 a.m. ET. This marks the first time Versus will provide coverage of the event.

The network reports that it will televise a substantial amount of games from the tournament, “including four preliminary- round games, at least three qualification-round games and at least one quarterfinal game.” Versus says that it will air every game by the U.S. team if it advances beyond the first round, but even if it doesn’t make it to the semifinals, the network will still air those two games (on May 13) as well as the gold medal game (May 15).

There will also be studio updates before, during and after the games. Bill Pidto and Matt Loughli will rotate as hosts alongside New Jersey Devils/American hockey star Zach Parise.

Here’s a look at how the preliminary round and its 16-team pool will look, along with an outline of how the first four games of coverage might look on Versus.

There are a total of 16 teams participating in the round-robin tournament which are placed in four groups to play in the preliminary round. The top three teams in each group will advance to the qualification round, while the last team in each group competes in the relegation round, where the top two teams will automatically qualify for the next year’s World Championships. Preliminary round groups:

Group A (Bratislava): Russia, Slovakia, Germany, Slovenia

Group B (Košice): Canada, Switzerland, Belarus, France

Group C (Košice): Sweden, United States, Norway, Austria

Group D (Bratislava): Finland, Czech Republic, Latvia, Denmark

VERSUS’ preliminary round coverage of the 2011 World Championships is as follows (all times ET, subject to change):

Saturday, April 30 — USA-Austria (Live) — 10 a.m.

Monday, May 2 — USA-Norway (Live) — 10 a.m.

Tuesday, May 3 — Canada-Switzerland — TBD

Wednesday, May 4 — USA-Sweden — TBD

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