The United States won last year's World Para Ice Hockey Championships A-Pool in Ostrava ©World Para Ice Hockey

The World Para Ice Hockey Championships A-Pool will return to Ostrava, Czech Republic next year with eight teams battling it out to qualify for the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games.

Ostravar Arena will host the event for the second consecutive time after last year’s tournament is believed to have drawn in a record-breaking 64,748 spectators.

Next year will see the top five finishers at the Championships - which are scheduled to be held from May 1 to 8 – automatically qualify for Beijing 2022.

The other three teams will then take part in a qualification tournament held at a later date to try to earn their spots.

Michelle Laflamme, manager at World Para Ice Hockey, said: "World Para Ice Hockey is thrilled to bring the World Championships back to Ostrava, a city where the appetite for Para ice hockey grew exponentially last year in just a matter of days.

"We are looking to another world class event that showcases one of the most exciting and fast-paced sports the Paralympic Movement has to offer.

"It will be another opportunity for people around the world to tune-in and learn about the athletes and teams as we inch closer to the next Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing."

The United States will enter the tournament as the defending Paralympic and world champions having won their record-equalling fourth world title last year.

Brody Roybal scored the game-winning goal off a pass from Declan Farmer in an overtime thriller.

"Our team is excited to return to Ostrava for the World Championships," said Farmer.

"There was so much excitement around that event when we were there in 2019, and we're excited for the chance to play for such enthusiastic viewers again, and hopefully with a similar outcome."

Reigning Paralympic and world silver medallists Canada, and current Paralympic and world bronze medallists South Korea will return along with host nation Czech Republic, Norway and Italy.

Czech Republic finished fourth at last year's World Championships in front of their home fans with Michal Geier crowned the most valuable player.

"When I heard the World Championships will return to Ostrava, I couldn't believe it," Geier said.

"I wouldn't have expected to ever experience a similar tournament at home again.

"It's a huge motivation for me to show off on the ice one more time, stronger and more prepared, and I hope that our entire team will feel the same way.

"Now, let's hope that the world returns to normal and the tournament can take place as it should. 

"It will be unforgettable once again."

Those six teams will be joined by Russia and Slovakia, who finished in the top two spots at last year's World Championships B-Pool in Berlin.

Russia went undefeated to take gold and return to the A-Pool for the first time since 2015, while Slovakia will make their debut appearance at this level.

Jiri Sindler, head of the Local Organising Committee, added: "I am really excited to bring back the World Championships to Ostrava, especially with the Slovakian team playing in A-Pool for the first time in history.

"Me and my organisation are excited to work again on this fabulous event.

"I look forward to working with the Para ice hockey family and athletes."