Women’s Olympic Qualification begins
by Martin Merk|06 OCT 2021
Host Poland and the Netherlands will battle for advancement to the Final Olympic Qualification in their group in Bytom. They last met at the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division I Group B in Beijing.
photo: Calvin Lam
The battle for the last three spots in the Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Tournaments in Beijing 2022 starts on Thursday. 21 teams remain in the race for a trip to China for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

A record number of 31 women’s national teams registered for the Olympics. The Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Tournament will for the first time be played with ten teams (up from eight) with the top-six teams – USA, Canada, Finland, ROC, Switzerland and Japan – and host China automatically qualified while the remaining teams have to battle it out in the Olympic Qualification.

Originally planned in three stages, the first round with the lowest-seeded teams in August had to be cancelled because Hong Kong (China), Bulgaria and Lithuania were not able to travel to Iceland in advance to fulfil the Covid protocols. Iceland as top-seeded team advanced to the second round that starts tomorrow. So far everything has been going according to plan with the participating teams arriving at the host venues several days ahead of the tournament according to the protocols.

Great Britain will host Group F in Nottingham and hope for a record attendance for women’s ice hockey at the National Ice Centre. The British fill in for top-seeded Korea, which planned to host the tournament at the Olympic venue in Gangneung. However, since indoor team sports are not allowed in the country due to the Covid-19 situation, they had to pass and move to Europe earlier to be able to practise, which the Korean team did in a camp in Denmark before travelling to Great Britain. Slovenia and Iceland will complete the tournament.

Also Group G has an Olympic connection. Italy will host the event at the Palaghiaccio Olimpico di Torre Pellice, an ice rink opened before the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in nearby Turin. The top-seeded Italians will be joined by Kazakhstan, Spain and Chinese Taipei.

Group H in Bytom sees host Poland face top-seeded Netherlands as well as Mexico and Turkey for a ticket to the Final Olympic Qualification.

The winner of each tournament will advance to the Final Olympic Qualification and be seeded according to their seeding number in the tournaments in the Czech Republic, Germany and Sweden. Find the Olympic Qualification overview for men’s and women’s ice hockey here.

You can follow the scores, stats, stories and photos on the tournament pages linked above. The teams will register the rosters on Wednesday evening when they will be published on the respective tournament page as well.

Games from all three tournaments will either be broadcast on national sports TV channels or be available as live stream. Find out more on the respective tournament page.