The 2023 IIHF Men's World Junior Ice Hockey Championship is to begin on December 26 ©Getty Images

The schedule for the 2023 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Men's World Junior Championship has been released, with Switzerland and Finland set to play the opening game in Moncton.

Competition is to start on December 26 2022, with the hosts Canada to begin their title defence later in the day against Czech Republic in the other host city Halifax at the Scotiabank Centre.

Group A features Canada, Sweden, Czech Republic, Germany and Austria; while the United States, Finland, Switzerland, Slovakia and Latvia are to play their preliminary games at the Avenir Centre in Moncton.

The first 20 preliminary games are to be split between the two cities.

Other big clashes include the US against Finland and Canada playing Sweden on December 31.

"The 2023 World Juniors will be an unforgettable celebration of hockey across the Maritimes [region of Canada], and we cannot wait to drop the puck on Boxing Day," said Dean McIntosh, vice-president of events and properties at Hockey Canada.

"From the opening-day matchups to the rivalry games on New Year's Eve, this year's schedule is extremely competitive and will showcase the best under-20 hockey players in the world in a return to the tournament's traditional holiday format."

Finland are to play in the opening game of the 2023 World Junior Championship ©Getty Images
Finland are to play in the opening game of the 2023 World Junior Championship ©Getty Images

All Championship games are to be broadcast on TSN and RDS, the official broadcast partners of Hockey Canada.

The gold-medal game is to be held on January 5 2023.

Canada is to host a selection camp earlier in December, which includes games against the U SPORTS All-Stars.

The nation is to host the tournament for a second year in a row, following on from the recent staging in Edmonton. 

Organisers blamed its out-of-sync hosting in August, as well as the ongoing Hockey Canada sexual assault scandal, for low ticket sales.

Investigations are ongoing into alleged sexual assaults by men's junior ice hockey teams at the 2003 and 2018 Championships. 

Hockey Canada previously made a settlement with a woman who accused several members of the 2018 team of rape and sexual assault, which did no go public until this year.