IIHF Releases 2021 World Championship Pools, Olympic Qualifying Details

IIHF Releases 2021 World Championship Pools, Olympic Qualifying Details
June 22, 2020

The IIHF is ready to resume business in 2021. After the 2020 schedule was ravaged by the COVID-19 outbreak around the globe, the organization is preparing for a return to normal. That’s great news for fans of the sport. On Monday, the IIHF released a number of details regarding their 2021 schedule. A number of those details surround the women’s tournaments.

World Championships

The 2021 Women’s World Championship will take place in Canada, heading to the cities of Halifax and Truro. The tournament was originally slated to head there this past spring before cancellation due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

As of now, the tournament is expected to take place from April 7th through the 17th. Group A will feature the US, Canada, Finland, Russia and Switzerland. Group B, meanwhile, will host Japan, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark and Hungary.

Group A will play in Halifax, while Group B plays in Truro.

The lower level tournaments also got some structure on Monday. Two of the three lower divisions will host their 2021 Championships where the 2020 tournament was scheduled. The Division I, Group A tournament will be in Angers, France, while the Division II, Group B championship will head to Jaca, Spain.

There is one tournament that will shift location. That is the Division I, Group B Championship. That will be moved to Beijing as a test event for the 2022 Winter Olympics. The 2020 Championship was scheduled to be in Poland.

The Division I, Group A tournament features Sweden, host France, Norway, Austria, Slovakia and the Netherlands. The Division I, Group B tournament in Beijing, meanwhile, features Italy, Korea, Poland, China, Kazakhstan, and Slovenia.
At the Division II, Group A level, Latvia, Great Britain, Spain, Mexico, DPR Korea and Chinese Taipei will head to Jaca.
In other news, per the IIHF, Estonia is returning to the senior level for women’s hockey. Bosnia & Herzegovina, meanwhile, joins the women’s senior category for the first time in 2021.

Olympic Qualification

Qualification for the 2022 Winter Olympics is also slated to begin in 2021. Here’s what the IIHF said about that in their official release.

“The Women’s Olympic Qualification will start in the upcoming season. A record number of 31 countries entered a team to Olympic Winter Games and Qualification. The top-6 teams of the 2020 IIHF Women’s World Ranking – USA, Canada, Finland, Russia, Switzerland and Japan – as well as host China are automatically qualified for the 10-team event. The remaining three teams will be determined in the Olympic Qualification in three stages starting in December.

“The hosts were determined according to the principle of the right of first refusal with the top-seeded teams getting the rights to host. The Final Olympic Qualification will be held same as the men’s tournaments from 26 to 29 August 2021 and the top-ranked non-qualified teams made use of their right to host. The Czech Republic will hold their tournament in Pribram, Germany will host in Fussen and Sweden will host its group in a city to be determined.”

Here is how those three groups will shape up in advance of Olympic Qualifying next August.

Group C: Czech Republic, Hungary, Norway, Qualifier 6. In Pribram, Czech Republic.
Group D: Germany, Denmark, Austria, Qualifier 5. In Fussen, Germany.
Group E: Sweden, France, Slovakia, Qualifier 4. In Sweden.

The early portion of Olympic Qualifying will take place later in 2020. ‘Group J’ will take the ice December 17th – 19th in Iceland. Iceland, Hong Kong, Bulgaria and Lithuania will take part in that first qualification tournament. The winner will advance to the second round of qualification in February of 2021. They’ll join ‘Group F’ in Korea with a chance to advance to the final stage of Qualifying.

Here are the groups for the second round of Qualifying.

Group F: Korea, Great Britain, Slovenia, Group J winner. In Gangneung, Korea.
Group G: Italy, Kazakhstan, Spain, Chinese Taipei. In Cortina, Italy.
Group H: Netherlands, Poland, Mexico, Turkey. In Gdansk, Poland.