HELSINKI Ė With the end of the preliminary round of the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship the nine pre-qualified teams for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi have been determined.
The seeding for Sochi 2014 and the qualification tournaments will be determined by the 2012 IIHF World Ranking after the end of this yearís World Championship, but already after the outcome of the preliminary round the nine pre-qualified teams are known.
The following nine countries are pre-qualified for the Menís Ice Hockey Tournament in Sochi 2014: Finland, Sweden, Russia, Czech Republic, Canada, United States, Norway, Slovakia, and Switzerland. (The final order and seeding of these teams will not be known until after the World Championship.)
Three more teams will be determined through qualification tournaments. The best teams behind the top nine nations have the right to host one of the three Final Olympic Qualification tournaments, 7-10 February 2013: Germany (10), Latvia (11) and Denmark (12).
Slovakia will make the most significant jump in the World Ranking after reaching the quarter-finals in Helsinki. After last yearís disappointing home-ice showing the Slovaks were only 10th in the Pre-Championship Ranking and out of an Olympic slot, but after adding this yearís World Ranking points, the Slovaks will be at least 8th as will Norway, which was 9th in the Pre-Championship Ranking.
Some teams that didnít make the quarter-finals this year are set to drop down in the new World Ranking. Switzerland falls from 7th to 9th place after finishing the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in 11th place, barely enough for the automatic ticket to Sochi. Itís the worst World Championship placement for the country since being promoted back to the top division in 1997.
Germany dropped from 8th to 10th place in the World Ranking after its 12th-place finish and will have to go through the Olympic Qualification.
In total, 34 nations have entered teams for Sochi 2014 and the qualification events in the hopes of participating at the next Olympic Winter Games.
For the Womenís Ice Hockey Tournament in Sochi 2014, Canada, United States, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden and Russia are pre-qualified and two more teams will be determined through qualification tournaments.
Click here for more information about the qualification process for Sochi 2014.
Click here for the Pre-Championship Ranking and the points to be earned in 2012.
Quarter-finals on Thursday
The 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship will continue after a one-day break with the quarter-finals on Thursday, 17 May 2012.
Canada vs. Slovakia (13:00)
USA vs. Finland (18:30)
Russia vs. Norway (14:45)
Sweden vs. Czech Republic (20:15)
All times are local. Note the one-hour time zone difference between Helsinki and Stockholm.