ZURICH/MUNICH – The German Ice Hockey Association (DEB) named Bietigheim-Bissingen host of Group D of the Final Olympic Qualification, 7-10 February 2013.
While the top nine men’s national teams of the 2012 IIHF World Ranking are automatically qualified for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, all other applicants battle for the three remaining spots in Sochi, with Germany, Latvia and Denmark exercising the right to host the Final Olympic Qualification groups as the nations ranked 10th to 12th.
Germany have chosen Bietigheim-Bissingen as host. The city in the state of Baden-Württemberg is located about 20 kilometres north of Stuttgart.
“With Krefeld and Bietigheim we had two very good applicants and the choice wasn’t an easy one,” said the association’s president Uwe Harnos. “Eventually it was the total package in Bietigheim with the full support of the city which convinced us.”
The tournament that includes neighbour Austria, Italy and a qualifier will be played in the new Ellentalarena that is currently being built beside the old ice rink and will have space for about 4,000 spectators.
“We’re very happy that the German Ice Hockey Association selected us for this important qualification tournament,” said Volker Schnabel, GM of the local ice hockey club Bietigheim Steelers that plays in the second league. “With our new and modern arena we will offer all hockey fans an amazing experience in the city of Bietigheim-Bissingen.”
The Latvian Hockey Federation (LHF) previously announced to host Group E at Arena Riga. The other participating teams are France, Kazakhstan and a qualifier.
The third group of the Final Olympic Qualification will be hosted at a venue to be determined in Denmark with Belarus, Slovenia and a qualifier being the other teams.
The Olympic Pre-Qualification will take place 8-11 November 2012 with three tournaments being staged in Budapest (Hungary), Kyiv (Ukraine) and Nikko (Japan). One first-round event will take place in Zagreb, Croatia, 17-19 September 2012.
Totally 33 teams were entered for men’s ice hockey tournament at the Olympic Winter Games with 24 teams battling it out in the qualification.
For the women’s ice hockey tournament 25 teams were entered with the top six teams pre-qualified and the remaining 19 teams seeded in six qualification tournaments in three stages. The Final Olympic Qualification for women’s national teams will also be staged 7-10 February 2013 in Slovakia (Bratislava) and a city to be determined in Germany.
Click here for an overview of the Olympic Qualification.