Denmark made their first appearance in 29 years at the top level of the Women’s World Championship, but couldn’t advance out of the group stage in Calgary.
How They Finished
The Danes finished in last place in Group B and, by virtue, the tournament after losing all four of their preliminary round games.
What Went Right
One positive for Denmark is that regardless of their performance at the 2021 tournament, they’ll be back competing in the top level again at the next World Championship. Because of the pandemic, all lower-division 2021 Women’s World Championship tournaments were canceled, and because no new teams can move up, no one is being relegated down.
That means the Danes picked up some pretty invaluable experience this year that can translate right away, despite their losing record. Before now, nobody on their roster had played at the top division of Worlds. A player like Silke Glud playing valuable minutes for the Danish team at a tournament of this caliber, is going to be key for them the next time around. There were some positive moments to build from, too, including a close one-goal game against Japan.
What Went Wrong
Denmark simply does not have the depth yet to keep up offensively with most of their opponents at this level, despite featuring some high-caliber players on their roster. Once the Czech and Hungarian offenses got going, the Danes couldn’t answer goal-for-goal. Germany and Japan are teams who traditionally don’t blow out opponents, but both are good hockey teams who have plenty of experience playing at this level. Again, in both cases, it proved too much for Team Denmark to chip away at their leads.
The most encouraging sign for Denmark is that their best players looked competitive and at times dominant against the Group B field. They put together some plays offensively and were able to build up momentum at times, but couldn’t translate that to any outbursts of goals. Besides the 1-0 shutout loss to Japan, Denmark only scored one goal in each of the three remaining games. There just wasn’t enough production here to truly make a run.
What Comes Next
The next major event on the calendar for the Danish team is Olympic qualifiers. They’ll be competing in Group D in Füssen, Germany, from Nov. 11-14. They’ll go against Germany, Austria, and one of the group winners from Pre-Qualification Round 2. It should be noted that Pre-Qualification Round 1, scheduled for the summer, was already canceled, so just something to possibly be aware of as we head into the season.
The qualifying tournament is a round-robin style; if Denmark finishes first in the group, they’ll snag one of three remaining spots in the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. That, obviously, would be huge for the team and makes the early part of this season very important for Denmark’s players.
Josefine Jakobsen was the only Danish player to score multiple goals—or even points—at Worlds this year, so she stands out as the clear MVP. She put together two goals and an assist in Denmark’s four games, playing every bit the part of captain for her team in terms of leadership and production.
A nod also goes out to Josephine Asperup, who played big minutes on defense (23:04 seconds on average per game, the most on the team). It’s never easy to anchor a team’s blue line when you’re chasing the puck quite a bit and facing pressure, but Asperup turned in a very solid effort all tournament.