On the last day of the 2011 IIHF Annual Congress in Bratislava, the IIHF members have been deciding the hosts for the 27 tournaments in the IIHF World Championship Program next year. These events will take place in four continents and cover both the World Championships and the O2014 Olympic qualification tournaments. The congress also approved the 2014 Olympic format.
The World Championship events of the non Pool A tournament have been formed according to the new structure approved on May 12. This see's the old A and B divisions now orgamised vertically as opposed to horizontally.
Slovenia, which was relegated at this year’s World Championship in Slovakia, was elected host of the 2012 IIHF World Championship Division I Group A. Their bid won against Great Britain’s proposal to host the tournament using the National; Ice Centre in Nottingham by 15-10 votes. The event will take place in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana and the venue will be either Hala Tivoli (same as in 2010) that will be expanded or at the newly built multifunctual Arena Stozice.
The Division I Group B – which is now one tier below the Group A with the new vertical structure – will take place in Krynica, Poland.
The hosts of three Top Division events have been known previously. The 2012 IIHF World Championship will take place in Helsinki, Finland, and Stockholm, Sweden. The U20s go to Calgary and Edmonton in the Canadian province of Alberta while the World Women’s Championship will take place in Burlington in Vermont, Unites States.
The final venues of the men’s and women’s U18 tournaments should be known within the next few weeks.
The 2012 IIHF World U18 Championship was supposed to be in Switzerland, but the Swiss wish to host the event two years later when their new national ice hockey centre opens in Winterthur. The event could potentially be moved to Denmark, which was promoted to the Top Division some weeks ago. The final decision will be announced end of May or in June.
The congress approved that the Czech Republic will organize the 2012 IIHF World Women’s U18 Championship. The city and dates will be announced at a later date.
Olympic format and qualification approved
The congress approved the format of the Olympic ice hockey tournaments of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and the qualification structure.
For the men’s events the format stays the same. The best nine teams of the 2012 IIHF Men’s World Ranking (determined after the 2012 IIHF World Championship) will be qualified directly. The remaining candidates will have to go through qualification tournaments.
Olympic men’s ice hockey tournament: Nations ranked 1-9 plus three qualifiers.
Group A: 1, 6, 7, 12
Group B: 2, 5, 8, 11
Group C: 3, 4, 9, 10
The eight teams with the best records (the best two teams of each group and the two teams ranked third with the best record) advance to the quarter-finals.
Final Olympic Qualification (3 tournaments, 7-10 February 2013): Nations ranked 10-18 plus the three winners from the Olympic Pre-Qualification.
Olympic Pre-Qualification (3 tournaments, 8-11 November 2012): Nations ranked 19-27 plus qualifiers from any preliminary qualification required or ranked nations 28 and higher.
Olympic women’s ice hockey tournament: Russia and the top-five other nations according to the 2012 IIHF Women’s World Ranking plus two qualifiers.
Group A: 1, 2, 3, 4
Group B: 5, 6, 7, 8
Note: This is the only major change as the preliminary round will take place in two tiers, as Group A will consist of teams ranked 1-4 while Group B will be comprised of teams ranked 5-8. Quarter-finals: 3A-2B & 4A-1B, semi-finals: 1A vs. winner 4A/1B, 2A vs. winner 3A/2B.
Final Olympic Qualification (2 tournaments, 7-10 February 2013): Nations ranked 7-12 plus the two winners from the Olympic Pre-Qualification.
Olympic Pre-Qualification (2 tournaments, 8-11 November 2012): Nations ranked 13-18 plus qualifiers from any preliminary qualification required or ranked nations 18 and higher.