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IIHF releases locations for 2021 World Championships, including Olympic qualifying tournaments

Locations and groups and countries, oh my!

Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 13 Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The IIHF officially assigned the locations for the 2021 World Championships at all levels following an “Extra-Ordinary Congress.”

Senior tournaments

They officially approved Halifax and Truro hosting, after the 2020 tournament was cancelled due to the pandemic. The proposed dates are April 7-17 in 2021.

Two of the three lower division 2021 Championships will also be held where the 2020 tournament would have been held. The Division I, Group A tournament will be in Angers, France. Division II, Group B championships will still be in Jaca, Spain.

The sole tournament to change is Division I, Group B, which moved to Beijing and is currently slated to be played in the arenas to be used for the 2020 Olympics games as a test event. The 2020 edition was planned for Katowice, Poland.

The Division II Group B tournament will be in Zagreb, Croatia, and the Division III tournament will be in Kaunas, Lithuana. Both of those levels were able to play their 2020 tournaments as they were played in February 2020 and December 2019, respectively.

Estonia is returning to the senior level while Bosnia & Herzegovina join the women’s senior category for 2021.

World Championship in Halifax & Truro, Canada
Group A in Halifax: USA, Canada, Finland, Russia, Switzerland
Group B in Truro: Japan, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Hungary
Division I Group A in Angers, France
Sweden, France, Norway, Austria, Slovakia, Netherlands
Division I Group B in Beijing, China
Italy, Korea, Poland, China, Kazakhstan, Slovenia
Division II Group A in Jaca, Spain
Latvia, Great Britain, Spain, Mexico, DPR Korea, Chinese Taipei
Division II Group B in Zagreb, Croatia
Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, Turkey, Croatia, South Africa
Division III in Kaunas, Lithuania
Ukraine, Belgium, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Hong Kong (China), Estonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Olympic qualifying tournaments

In April, the IIHF published its rankings which seeded teams for the 2022 Olympics and placed the first six teams into the 10-team tournament, the first year of the expanded field. In addition, China, as the host nation, received a spot as the sixth team to qualify thus far. Three spots remain open.

USA, Canada, Finland, Russia, Switzerland were the top five teams and placed in Group A. Japan was the sixth seed and will be in Group B, along with China. The three qualifying teams will go into Group B as well.

According to the IIHF, 31 countries submitted a team to Olympic Winter Games and Qualification. The countries ranked seven through 15 all were guaranteed spots into the Final Qualification Round with the top seeds among them having the right to host.

In each Round, the winners of each group moves on to the next Round, filling the “Qualifier #” spot in the listed countries. The country that wins Groups C, D, and E will qualify for the Olympics.

As a note, the IIHF release named Norway in both Group C and D, but it would seem as if Denmark should be in Group D.

Final Olympic Qualification (Aug. 26-29, 2021)
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 (city TBA).
Olympic Qualification Round 2 (Feb. 11-14, 2021)
Group F: Korea, Great Britain, Slovenia, Qualifier 8. In Gangneung, Korea.
Group G: Italy, Kazakhstan, Spain, Chinese Taipei. In Cortina, Italy.
Group H: Netherlands, Poland, Mexico, Turkey. In Gdansk, Poland.
Olympic Qualification Round 1 (Dec. 17-19, 2020)
Group J: Iceland, Hong Kong, Bulgaria, Lithuania. In Reykjavik, Iceland.

U18 tournaments

The U18 tournaments were also assigned at the Congress.

The top level tournament will be in Sweden with Group A playing in Mjolby and Group B playing in Linkoping. The proposed dates are Jan. 5-12, 2021.

U18 Worlds in Linkoping & Mjolby, Sweden
Group A in Mjolby: USA, Canada, Russia, Finland
Group B in Linkoping: Sweden, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Germany
Division I Group A in Gyor, Hungary
Slovakia, Japan, Hungary, France, Italy, Norway
Division I Group B in Radenthein, Austria
Denmark, Austria, China, Korea, Poland, Chinese Taipei
Division II Group A in Dumfries, Great Britain
Great Britain, Netherlands, Australia, Spain
Division II Group B in Kocaeli, Turkey
Kazakhstan, Turkey, Mexico, New Zealand, Latvia