2024 WW Preview: Group B
by Ameeta VOHRA|02 APR 2024
photo: © International Ice Hockey Federation / Andrea Cardin
New faces, veterans and surprises highlight Group B

The excitement is building, and the intensity is peaking as we inch closer to the start of the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Utica, New York.
Group B of the preliminary round has plenty of new faces, veterans, and some surprises.
Here is what to expect from the teams competing in Group B:


The odds-on favourite to win Group B, the Swedes hope this is the year they can go deep at the Women’s Worlds.
Last year in Brampton, the team was bounced out of the quarter-finals at the hands of hosts Canada. Sweden finished the tournament in sixth place.
Sweden got a boost as forward Hanna Olsson will join the team in Utica, and hasn’t played most of the SDHL season due to injury.
Olsson, along with Hilda Svensson will provide Sweden with a dynamic offense. Both players were the leading scorers for Sweden, each with 11 points at the 2023 tournament.
Offensively, there will be a great mixture of veterans and younger players. After a stellar season with the NCAA Division 1's University of Minnesota, Josefin Bouveng is on the rise, and her ascension could be at Women’s Worlds.
Sweden's defense will be strong, led by four returning players. Anna Kjellbin, Maja Nylén Persson, Linnéa Andersson, and Mira Jungåker, will be joined by NCAA players Paula Bergström and Ida Karlsson.
Between the pipes is Emma Soderberg, who is returning from PWHL Boston. At the 2023 Women’s Worlds, she had a 2.58 goals-against average and 92.35 save percentage.
Sweden has all the ingredients to be one of the most dynamic and powerful teams we see in Utica.


Japan is hoping to make some waves at the 2024 Women’s Worlds and better their tournament result from the previous year.
In 2023, Japan lost to Switzerland 5-1 and dropped to Group B after finishing 7th in the tournament.
All eyes will be on superstar Akane Shiga, the youngest and only Japanese player to crack a PWHL roster, signing a one-year deal with Ottawa.
Forward Haruka Toko will boost Japan’s offensive output. She led Swedish team Linkoping with 43 points in 36 games.
Japan might have local fans cheering in the stands when they take to the ice as defender Akane Hosoyamada suited up for NCAA team Syracuse Orange between 2010-2015.


Germany comes into the tournament motivated to do better. The team bowed out to the United States in the quarter-finals in Brampton.
Led by Canadian coach Jeff MacLeod, the team will have a veteran presence as 17 players return from the 2023 roster. 
Goaltender Sandra Abstreiter is solid between the pipes. She returns to the fold after playing for PWHL Ottawa. In 117 minutes played with Ottawa, Abstreiter has amassed a 0.913 save percentage, 3.08 goals against average, and 63 saves.
In 2023, Abstreiter was one of the top goaltenders at the tournament. She earned three wins, had a 2.70 goals against average and a 92.86 save percentage.
Five players will join Germany from their NCAA teams, including defender Nina Jobst-Smith (Minnesota/Duluth), forward Svenja Voigt (St. Cloud), forward Nina Christof (Rensselaer Polytechnic), and twin sisters Luisa and Lilli Welcke (Boston).
New players on the tournament roster to watch for are goaltender Lisa Hemmerle (Ingosladt) and sisters Lucia and Tara Schmitz (beide Mannheim).
Wolfsburg goaltender Hannah Loist has moved up after playing in the IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship in Zug this past January. The 16-year-old player could be another exciting player to watch.


Denmark return to Group B after securing the second promotion spot in last year’s IIHF Women's World Championship Division in China.
The last time the team played at Women’s Worlds was 2022, when they hosted the world at home. Despite having the hometown on their side, Denmark faced disappointment and went to relegation.
As the team hopes to break through at the tournament, they look to fill the void of a presence on their national team for 15 years. Veteran forward Josefine Jakobsen will not make the trip to Utica.
Denmark will be undergoing a changing of the guard, and the team will look to Captain Nicoline Jensen for her leadership.
Denmark’s strength is goaltending, where Emma-Sofie Nordstrom comes with experience. Recently, the goaltender led the St. Lawrence Saints to an NCAA Division 1 championship appearance and was named a second-team Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) all-star.
Nordstrom is one of four NCAA players who will represent Denmark. The others are defender Sophie Scott Dahl and forwards Frederikke Foss and Sofia Writes (Skriver).
Olivia Ranum is one of the most exciting players to watch. The 15-year-old star is moving up to make her first appearance at the tournament.  Previously, Ranum competed in a couple of under-18 championships.
Denmark’s goal is to reach the quarter-finals, but their youth and inexperience could be the difference in whether they can make the final 8 in Utica.


China will debut in Group B at Women's Worlds, promoted after winning the IIHF Women's Division 1A Championship at home.
China has been on a natural progression for the last couple of years to get to this point. In 2022, the team finally broke through after playing in Division 1B since 2011.
The Chinese face challenges heading into the tournament. The majority of players who helped the team get promoted to this tournament will not be in Utica.  Those include starting goaltender Tiya Chen and NCAA stars Anna Segedi and Camryn Wong. 
With younger players taking centre stage in Utica, they could seize the opportunity and pull off some upsets.