Group L showdown abandoned
by Andy Potts|15 DEC 2019
photo: Carles Iturbe
The decisive game in 2019 Men’s Olympic Qualification Preliminary Round 2 Group L between host nation Spain and the Netherlands has been cancelled due to problems with the ice surface at the arena in Barcelona.

Now there will be further discussions within the IIHF sports office and a decision on how the group is to be resolved will be announced in the coming days. The tournament chairman Franz Reindl and representatives of both competing teams agreed to defer a decision pending further discussions.

The game started as planned on Sunday evening, but a problem while cleaning the ice caused a large hole in the face-off circle to the right of the net defended by the Spaniards in the first period. The game officials gave as much time as possible to try to solve the problem but at 23:00 local time, two-and-a-half hours after play stopped, it was clear that it would be impossible to complete the game on the night.

After 20 minutes of play, the original game was scoreless. Spain and the Netherlands are currently tied on six points after two games each. If the Dutch win and take top spot in the group, they will go to Group H in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, to face Poland, Ukraine and the Kazakhs. A Spanish victory would send the tournament host to Jesenice, Slovenia to play in Group G against Japan, Lithuania and the Slovenes.