U.S. Team Will Be Russia's First Rival in World Cup Tournament of 2004

The first competitor of the national team of Russia in the World Cup tournament of 2004 will be the U.S. squad, said the headquarters of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) which, alongside the National Hockey League (NHL) and the NHL Players' Association (NHLPA), is an organiser of this tournament.

The calendar of the World Cup competition slated to be held from August 30th to September 14th, 2004 in six countries was presented last night. The eight participating countries will be divided in two groups. The Russian squad is in the so-called North-American group together with the national teams of the USA, Canada and Slovakia. The European group includes the Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland and Germany.

The games of the North-American group will be staged in Montreal, Toronto (Canada) and Saint Paul (the USA), and of the European group - in Helsinki, Stockholm, Prague and Cologne.

At the first stage the teams will play among themselves in one round, and then play-off matches will begin. The final game will be played in Toronto on September 14th.

The first World Cup match of the Russian team with the Americans will be held in Saint Paul on September 2nd. On September 4th, our hockey players will meet with Canada in Toronto, and in the last game of the first stage they will oppose the team of Slovakia (Toronto, September 5th).

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