Gangneung in South Korea has been confirmed as host of this year's Para Ice Hockey World Championships ©Getty Images

Gangneung in South Korea has been confirmed as host of this year's Para Ice Hockey World Championships, with the competition set to serve as a key test event for the Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Games.

Governing body World Para Ice Hockey has confirmed that the A-Pool competition will take place between April 11 and 20, at the Gangneung Hockey Centre.

The 10,000 capacity venue has been newly refurbished for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics, which begin in just under a year's time.

Hosting the Worlds will allow the venue to be fully tested, including facilities and media services.

The top five teams at the event will seal their return to the venue as they will qualify for the Paralympics.

Barbora Kohoutova, Interim World Para Ice Hockey Manager, said: "The World Championships A-Pool are the jewel in the crown of the sport’s calendar outside of the Paralympic Winter Games.

"Gangneung 2017 will have added significance as teams bid to return to the same venue just under one year later for Pyeongchang 2018. 

"We can expect the competition to be fierce and for all players to arrive determined to challenge for the podium.

"I am looking forward to working with the Pyeongchang 2018 Organising Committee on this unique dress rehearsal and would like to thank them for hosting us on this important occasion.

The Gangneung Hockey Centre will host the competition ©Getty Images
The Gangneung Hockey Centre will host the competition ©Getty Images

"Although we are only publicly announcing this event now, competing teams have known about it for quite a while and therefore we expect them to be on the top of their game."

World and Paralympic champions United States are among the countries expected to compete, alongside Canada, Norway, Italy, Germany, Sweden and hosts South Korea.

Russia, the bronze medallists at the 2015 World Championships, are not eligible, however, due to the country's suspension by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) because of doping violations.

It was revealed yesterday that a Russian request to enter athletes in qualification competitions for Pyeongchang had been rejected, but ways to include athletes from the country will be explored if the sanction is lifted in time.

This could prove problematic in the team sport of ice hockey, however, where a maximum field of countries would supposedly be set.

Inkyu Park, director of sport at the Pyeongchang Organising Committee, said: "We are delighted to be hosting such a high-level event to promote the Paralympic Movement and showcase the best athletes in the world. 

"It is also a great opportunity to test the operations of the Para-ice hockey venue and provide valuable experience to the staff.

"We are confident that the athletes will relish the opportunity to play in Gangneung in advance of the Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games."

At the 2015 World Championships A-Pool in Buffalo, hosts USA beat Canada 3-0 to claim a record third world title.