Officials have been confirmed for the men's World Championship ©Getty Images

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has announced its 36 game officials for the upcoming Men's Ice Hockey World Championship in Riga.

They will be split into six units of six officials for the first time, with each consisting of three referees and three linesmen.

All of the units will stay together while officiating and practicing in Riga.

It is hoped this will help improve coordination between officials, with the IIHF saying similar initiatives in other sports have boosted the standard of officiating.

"This is an approach to reflect the special circumstances with COVID-19 and a great chance to test it also for the future," said Sergej Gontcharov, chairman of the IIHF Officiating Committee and an IIHF Council member.

"Thanks to the better coordination between the officials and keeping one line of officiating, we believe that this could raise the level of officiating, similar to what we have seen in other sports."

Referees for the tournament include Andris Ansons, Tobias Bjork, Andrew Bruggeman, Mads Frandsen, Martin Frano, Roman Gofman, Olivier Gouin, Lassi Heikkinen, Antonin Jerabek and Mikael Nord.

Yevgeni Romasko, Andre Schrader, Maxim Sidorenko, Robin Sir, Peter Stano¸ Christoph Sternat, Michael Tscherrig and Kristian Vikman have also been selected.

Bjork, Gofman, Gouin, Jerabek and Schrader have all previously officiated in World Championship gold medal matches.

The officiating teams will operate as six different units for the first time ©Getty Images
The officiating teams will operate as six different units for the first time ©Getty Images

Linesmen selected include Nicolas Constantineau, Dmitri Golyak, Daniel Hynek, Andreas Weise Kroyer, Gleb Lazarev, Ludvig Lundgren, Dustin McCrank, Jonas Merten and Lauri Nikulainen.

David Obwegeser, Brian Oliver, Jiri Ondracek, Elias Seewald, Nikita Shalagin, Hannu Sormunen, Simon Synek, Emil Yletyinen and Davis Zunde complete the list of officials.

The IIHF said the on-ice officials have been selected based on their performances in their leagues.

A bigger focus was placed on referees and linesmen working in Europe due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions.

The governing body said this replicates the focus on North American referees at championships in Canada and the United States.

The Men's World Championship is scheduled to take place from May 21 to June 6 in Riga.

The tournament is due to feature two eight team groups with Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Slovakia, Denmark, Belarus and Britain forming Group A.

Group B is due to consist of hosts Latvia, defending champions Finland, Canada, United States, Germany, Norway, Italy and Kazakhstan.

Latvia was confirmed as the sole host of the tournament in February.

This followed Belarus being stripped of co-hosting rights in January.