ZURICH – The 11th IIHF World Women’s Championship opens in Harbin, China, on Friday, April 4, as the defending champion Canada takes on Russia on day one at the Baqu Arena in Harbin.
Canada, who has won nine out of the previous ten IIHF World Women’s Championships, leads the Pre-Championship World Ranking with 1790 points going into the Harbin event. USA is second with 1730 points and Sweden is third with 1700.
It is the final 2008 IIHF World Ranking (calculated immediately following the event) that determines the top six ranked teams which will earn automatic qualification to the women’s tournament at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
As the top four ranked nations (Canada, USA, Sweden and Finland) all have a lock on earning automatic Olympic qualification, there will be a thrilling race for the sixth and last ranking spot which will guarantee participation in the Vancouver Olympics.
As of position five, the standing in the Pre-Championship World Ranking looks like this:
5. Switzerland 1545
6. Germany 1545
----------------- Olympic cut -----------------
7. Russia 1535
8. China 1510
The difference between two ranking positions is 20 or 40 points (see this chart for complete understanding). Example: If Russia finishes fourth at the 2008 World Championship in China, they will earn 1100 new ranking points for a total of 2635 points in the final 2008 IIHF World Ranking. Russia will surpass Germany, if they finish one position ahead of Germany in Harbin.
Canada enjoys a 60 points ranking cushion to the USA. For the USA to overtake Canada in the 2008 World Women’s Ranking to end up as No. 1, Team USA needs to finish two positions ahead of Canada in Harbin. Example:
Canada has now 1790 pts – if 3rd place in Harbin (1120 pts) = 2910 total pts
USA 1730 has now pts – if 1st in Harbin (1200 pts) = 2930 total pts
The women’s Olympic tournament in Vancouver 2010 will be played with eight teams. The last two teams will come through the Olympic qualifying system which will be played in 2008-2009.