The preliminary round will be played in 4 groups (A-D) with 4 teams each. The groups A and B form the Top Division, the groups C and D form Division I.
Playoffs starting with the quarterfinals and placement games will be played both in the Top Division and in Division I.
The last-placed team of the Top Division (loser of the 7th-place game) will be relegated to Division I for 2012. The gold medal winner from Division I will be promoted to the Top Division in 2012.
The three last-placed teams in Division I will be relegated and the two new teams will be determined through qualification events. Japan will be back in Division I in 2012 after having to withdraw following the natural disaster.
The ranking of the groups is based according to the result of the last World Championship performance of the respective countries in the IIHF InLine Hockey Program and the qualification rounds.
The Top Division will be played in the main arena, the Division I games usually in the small arena (except medal games in the main arena).
Both rinks will have "AXXESS ICE COURT" floors, the official IIHF Championship Floor.
All games in the preliminary round and in the playoffs will be played with 5-minute sudden-death overtime and a penalty shootout in case of a tie. The final games will be played with a 12-minute sudden-death overtime, followed by a penalty shootout competition in case of a tie.
Teams will be awarded points on the following system:
- Win after regular time = 3 points
- Win after overtime or shootout = 2 points
- Loss after overtime or shootout = 1 point
- Loss after regular time = 0 points
Group A: USA (1), Canada (4), Slovenia (5), Slovakia (8).
Group B: Czech Republic (2), Sweden (3), Finland (6), Germany (7).
Group C: Austria (9), Australia (12), Great Britain (13), South Africa (16).
Group D: Croatia (10), Hungary (11), Argentina* (14), New Zealand (15).
* Argentina replaces Japan.