ZURICH – One of the International Ice Hockey Federation’s initiatives to accelerate the development of women’s hockey kicks off next Wednesday when the IIHF Twelve Nations Invitational Tournament Series begins in Vierumäki, Finland.
Finland vs. Japan will be the first game played at the Sport Institute of Finland.
The twelve participating teams will be split into three tiers, which will partly be mixed in the series of three tournaments.Pool A:
USA, Canada, Finland, SwedenPool B:
Russia, Switzerland, Slovakia, JapanPool C:
Germany, Norway, Czech Republic, France
The top eight teams will play a round-robin tournament August 24 to September 3 in Vierumäki while at the same time from August 28 to 30 the four Pool C teams will have a six-game event in Courchevel, a winter sport resort in the French Alps.
Pools B and C will meet in a third tournament November 9-14 in Füssen, Germany.
Opposed to the Women’s World Championship played in several divisions and groups next spring, the teams don’t fight for medals in this one-time Twelve Nations Invitational Tournament Series. It’s all about developing players from countries that are candidates to take part in the Olympic women’s ice hockey tournament in less than three years, and to give them the opportunity to play more international games.
The tournaments are subsidized by the IIHF and will be staged on top of all the other international tournaments and exhibition games organized by various national ice hockey associations so that the teams and players can play more often at a high level.
“For some teams it’s the only opportunity to play the top teams outside of the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship or an Olympic Games,” adds Tanya Foley, the IIHF’s Women’s Program Manager. “We wanted to provide a program to help with the preparation for the Olympic Qualification process that starts this coming season.”
Host Russia and the top-five other nations according to the 2012 IIHF Women’s World Ranking, which will be determined following the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship season, receive a bye to the Olympic women’s ice hockey tournament in Sochi 2014. Two more teams will be determined through qualification tournaments in the 2012-2013 season.Click here for the schedules.