Olympic schedule is official

History repeats as USA and Swiss open men's event in Vancouver

20.02.2009
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Switzerland and Martin Plüss (left) will open the men's Olympic tournament vs. the U.S. Joe Thornton's Canada will hit the ice a few hours later. Photo: Europhoto/Jukka Rautio

ZURICH – With 357 days to the opening face-off, the International Ice Hockey Federation released the schedule for the 2010 men’s and women’s Olympic ice hockey tournament in Vancouver, Canada. Ninety years after their first Olympic game, USA and Switzerland will open the men's tournament on February 16.

The men’s schedule includes 30 games, while the women’s tournament holds 20 games.

NOTE: The schedule is still subject to change. See more on status of schedule further down.

Click here for the men’s ice hockey schedule.

Click here for the women’s ice hockey schedule.

The United States and Switzerland will open the men’s tournament of the XXI Olympic Winter Games on Tuesday, February 16 at noon local time. The two nations have a storied Olympic history that dates back to the 1920 Olympic Games, which were the first to include ice hockey.

In the opening round of the event in Antwerp, Belgium, the U.S. beat the Swiss 29-0 in what was the first-ever Olympic ice hockey game for both nations.  

Host Canada will also play on the opening day of action against recently-qualified Norway, while defending champion Sweden will put its title to the test on the second day of the Games against Germany, also a team that had to go through final Olympic qualifications to earn a place in Vancouver 2010.

The final day of preliminary round action on Sunday, February 21, will be one of the most highly-anticipated days of the Olympics as Russia takes on the Czech Republic, Canada faces off against the United States while Turin 2006 finalists Sweden and Finland square off in the triple header.

28 out of the 30 games of the men’s tournament will be played at the 18,630-seat home arena of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, which for the duration of the Olympic Games will be known as Canada Hockey Place.

The other Olympic ice hockey venue is the UBC Thunderbird Arena. Click here for information on both hockey venues.

The men’s gold medal game is played on the last day of the Olympics, February 28.

The women’s tournament will also start with a bang as Sweden and Switzerland open the program on Saturday, February 13. Switzerland beat Sweden at the 2008 IIHF World Women’s Championship which gave the Swiss their first-ever berth to a medal game.

Defending champion Canada takes on Slovakia in the other opening-day game. The Slovaks are the Cinderella story of the Games as the lowest-seeded women’s team (17th) to ever earn a berth in the women’s ice hockey Olympic tournament.

The women’s tournament will last from February 13-25, 2010, and includes eight teams in two preliminary round groups. The men’s program will span from February 16-28, 2010 and has 12 participating teams in three preliminary round groups.

Click here for a complete overview of the Olympic Qualification Format as well as the men’s three and women’s two groups in Vancouver.

In the men’s tournament, the three Preliminary Round Group winners – as well as the second-placed team with the best Preliminary Round record – will earn a bye to the Quarter Final Round. The remaining eight teams, ranked 5-12 in the Preliminary Round, will have to go through the one-game elimination Qualification Playoff.

The maximum number of games for one men’s team in Vancouver is seven.

In the women’s tournament, the two top teams in each Preliminary Round group advance to the cross-over semi-finals. The women’s format remains the same as it was in Turin 2006.

“We don’t expect many changes to the schedules leading up to the games,” said IIHF Sport Director Dave Fitzpatrick. “If there will be any, they will probably be minor. Any possible changes will be due to television requests or logistical reasons. Hopefully, very soon we will be able to consider the schedules we announced today as final.”     


Nicklas Lidström with the Olympic gold medal from Turin 2006. Photo: Europhoto/Jani Rajamäki


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