The Canadian men's hockey team will begin its quest for a second straight world championship May 2 when it opens the 2008 world hockey championship against Slovenia in Halifax.

It's the first time Canada has hosted the world hockey championship. The 12-team tournament will run May 2-18 with games in Halifax and Quebec City.

The gold medal game will take place May 18 at the Pepsi Colisee.

Last year, Canada, led by tournament MVP Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets, defeated Finland 4-2 in the gold medal game for the country's third world crown since 2003 and 24th title overall.

For the 2008 tournament, Canada is slotted in Pool B with the United States, Latvia and Slovenia. The Canadians play seven games total in Halifax — May 4 against Latvia, May 6 versus the U.S., plus qualification games and a quarter-final.

Halifax is also hosting Pool C games featuring Finland, Germany, Norway and Slovakia.

Quebec City will have both semifinals and final as well as play from pools A and D.

Teams in Pool A are Sweden, Switzerland, Belarus and France, while teams in Pool D are the Czech Republic, Russia, Denmark and Italy.