In the Pre-Olympic Report for the new IIHF World Rankings, Sweden in menís hockey and the U.S. on the womenís side hold the top position Ė at least for now.
The reports are generated to calculate the 2014 IIHF World Ranking in the menís and womenís categories following the end of the Olympic ice hockey tournaments. They include World Championships since 2010 while the points earned at the 2010 Olympics are eliminated and the ones from Sochi 2014 (including the Olympic Qualification) will be added for the final result.
Click here for the Pre-Olympic Reports: Men, Women
The top-15 of the menís report turned out to be in the same order like the 2013 IIHF Menís World Ranking. Sweden, which won the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Stockholm to end the infamous ďhome-ice curseĒ and also medalled in 2010 and 2011, is leading before Finland, Russia, the Czech Republic, Canada and the United States, followed by Switzerland, Slovakia and Norway, all of whom were also automatically qualified for the Olympics.
The German menís national team follows in tenth place but is threatened to drop down further after losing out in the qualification tournament and missing Sochi 2014. However, Latvia, which follows in 11th place, would need to reach the quarter-finals to earn enough points to overtake the Germans.
Austria (15th) and Slovenia (16th), who won their Olympic Qualification events to book their tickets to Sochi, are ranked behind Denmark (12th), France (13th) and Belarus (14th), who missed first place in their respective qualification tournaments.
Also on the womenís side the recalculation of the points for 2014 has had little effect in the upper part since the top-12 teams are ranked in the same order like in the 2013 IIHF Womenís World Ranking.
The United States still lead the ranking after having won the IIHF Ice Hockey Womenís World Championships in 2011 and 2013. Canada, which won the event in 2012, follows in second place before Finland, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden and Germany, who all play in Sochi as well.
Japan, one of the two qualifiers together with Germany, follows in 10th place behind Slovakia and the Czech Republic, who didnít succeed in the Olympic Qualification.
The new IIHF World Rankings will be published immediately after the Olympic ice hockey tournaments. In menís hockey there will be two World Rankings this year, one after the Olympics and one following the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk, Belarus, in May.
The Pre-Olympic Report has no influence on the Olympics since the seeding for the menís and womenís ice hockey tournaments was done two years ago based on the 2012 IIHF World Rankings. However, it is a tool to reflect the long-term quality of the countries' national team programme taking into consideration the results over four years. The 2014 IIHF World Ranking (May edition) will be used to determine the seeding for the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship and the World Rankings are also used for the Olympics to determine the seeding and which teams are automatically qualified.
The Swedish menís national team and the U.S. womenís national team enter the Olympics with the most points for the 2014 IIHF World Ranking following the Olympics. But this may change depending on the outcome in Sochi 2014. Photos: Richard Wolowicz, Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images