The 2021 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship took place from May 21 to June 6 in Riga, Latvia. The top 16 nations in the world participated in the tournament, which was won by Canada following a 3-2 overtime victory in the final against Finland. Teams were composed of some of the top players in the world, many of whom either played in the National Hockey League (NHL) during the 2020-21 regular season or had been drafted by NHL teams. The New York Rangers had eight players and prospects participate in the tournament, including Canadian defenseman Braden Schneider.
A 19-year-old native of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Schneider was selected by the Rangers as the 19th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft and spent the 2020-21 season with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL. Serving as team captain, Schneider scored 27 points in 22 games. He also played two games with New York’s AHL affiliate in Hartford and represented Canada at the IIHF U-20 World Championship earlier this year. Schneider registered one assist in nine games at the IIHF World Championship.
Rangers players Kevin Rooney and Colin Blackwell – as well as prospect Zac Jones – represented the United States, which defeated Germany 6-1 in the bronze medal game. Rooney scored one point in 10 games for Team USA after registering 14 points through 54 regular season games in his first year with the Rangers. Blackwell, who also played in his first season with the Rangers in 2020-21, scored four goals in 10 games for Team USA. Jones, meanwhile, had three assists in 10 games. The 20-year-old defenseman scored 24 points in 29 games with the University of Massachusetts and four points in 10 games with the Rangers in 2020-21.
New York also had two players – center Filip Chytil and defenseman Libor Hajek – on the Czech Republic team. Chytil, who was selected by the Rangers 21st overall in the 2017 NHL Draft, scored four points through eight games in the tournament. He had 22 points through 42 games with the Rangers this season. Hajek, a 23-year-old with 77 games of NHL experience, had three points in eight games at the tournament.
The Rangers’ first-round pick, 28th overall, in the 2020 NHL Draft, Nils Lundkvist also played in the tournament. The 20-year-old defenseman represented his native Sweden and recorded an impressive five assists in only three games. His tournament was cut short after suffering what appeared to be a leg injury during a round-robin game against Switzerland.
Lundqvist won the Salming Trophy as the top Swedish-born defenseman in the SHL in 2020-21 after scoring 14 goals and adding 18 assists through 52 regular season games. He signed an entry-level contract with the Rangers on June 3.
Goaltending prospect Adam Huska also played in the IIHF World Championship. The 24-year-old Slovakian netminder appeared in three games for his country and recorded a 4.32 goals against average and .855 save percentage. Huska has mostly played with the Hartford Wolf Pack since graduating from the University of Connecticut in 2019. He was selected by the Rangers in the seventh round of the 2015 NHL Draft.