The game schedule has been released for the 2021 IIHF Women's World Championship in Canada, where the United States will aim to defend the title they won two years ago ©Getty Images

The game schedule has been released for the 2021 International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship, scheduled to be held in Nova Scotia in Canada from May 6 to 16.

Four matches are scheduled on day one with the pick of these set to be hosts Canada against Finland in Group A in a repeat of the 2019 semi-final, which the Finnish team won on home soil.

Top seeds and defending champions the United States are also due to open their Group A campaign against Switzerland on the same day.

The top five seeds for the event feature in Group A, which is completed by a Russian team, who open their tournament the following day against Switzerland.

All Group A matches will take place at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax while all Group B games, featuring the next five seeds, will take place at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre in Truro.

The opening Group B games see Germany face Japan and Hungary go up against the Czech Republic.

Denmark complete the group and enter into the fray the following day when they are due to face Hungary.

Preliminary-round contests are due to conclude on May 11, with an appetising final Group A contest between cross-border rivals the United States and Canada set to complete proceedings that evening.

After a rest day, the quarter-finals are scheduled for May 13, featuring the five Group A teams and the top three from Group B.

The winners will advance to the semi-finals, while the teams defeated at this stage will go on to placement games to determine the finishing order between fifth and eighth.

The semi-finals are due to take place on May 15 with the medal matches and final placement games scheduled for the following day.

Hockey Canada is hopeful that both venues will be able to welcome fans for the tournament, albeit at a limited capacity.

"The excitement around the IIHF Women’s World Championship has been building in the province of Nova Scotia for nearly two and a half years, and the release of the schedule provides fans and athletes alike with another reason to get excited for the top hockey players in the world to face off on the East Coast," said the tournament’s general manager Grant MacDonald.

"After 17 years since Nova Scotia last hosted the Women’s World Championship, we are thrilled to be back in Halifax and Truro.

"As the participating teams begin to unveil their rosters over the coming weeks, we know the excitement will continue to build as we look to host a safe and successful World Championship."

The last time the province of Nova Scotia hosted the Women’s World Championship was in 2004, when Canada beat the United States 2-0 in the final, one of 10 occasions that the Canadians have claimed gold.