World Championship season begins
by Martin Merk|04 DEC 2019
The newly created IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division III kicks off the season for the program in Sofia including host Bulgaria and South Africa.
photo: BIHA
The new season for the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship program starts today. The IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division III – the newly created sixth tier in the growing international women’s hockey family – is the first of a record number of 32 World Championship tournaments this season.

The Bulgarian capital of Sofia will host six teams in the recently renovated Winter Sports Palace. These come from three different continents. From Europe, host Bulgaria will be joined by their neighbours from Romania as well as Belgium and Lithuania. The Chinese island of Hong Kong and South Africa come from other continents to add more international flavour to the tournament.

The winner of the tournament will be promoted one level higher to next season’s Division II Group B. Lithuania is the newest entry in the Women’s World Championship program. The Baltic nation has increased ice hockey participation in general over the last decade and used IIHF initiatives like the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend and the Global Girls’ Game to kick-start women’s hockey in the country during the past few years.

All games from Sofia will be streamed live. Just click on a game on the front page, the event page or the game centre of the respective game while it is on.

The tournament is the starting point of two busy months with international events that currently also include the ongoing Southeast Asian Games’ ice hockey tournament in the Philippines.

In the U20 category the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship in the Czech Republic will be the biggest event of the month kicking off on 26 December. Prior to that the two Division I groups will be played in the Belarusian capital of Minsk (9-15 December) and the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv (12-18 December). The lower U20 groups will be played in January in Vilnius (Lithuania), Korea’s Olympic venue in Gangneung and in Sofia (Bulgaria).

The men’s U20 time is traditionally also the time of the women’s U18 tournaments. The 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship will take place at the Vlado Dzurilla Ice Rink in Bratislava, Slovakia, this winter starting on 26 December. The other divisions will be staged in January in Fussen (Germany), Katowice (Poland), Eindhoven (Netherlands) and Mexico City.

Click here to find all tournaments and the event pages of the entire 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship program.

Not far away from us is the next round of the Olympic Qualification. This season and until August the Men’s Olympic Qualification will be played while the Women’s Olympic Qualification follows during the 2020/2021 season.

After the first round in November, the second round takes place next week in Brasov (Romania), Barcelona (Spain) and Sisak (Croatia). The tournament winners will advance to the third round in February to be played in Jesenice (Slovenia), Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan) and Nottingham (Great Britain). The Final Olympic Qualification will take place end of August in Slovakia, Latvia and Norway.

January will see more international ice hockey with the final tournament of the traditional European club competition IIHF Continental Cup taking place in Denmark for the first time hosted by SonderjyskE Vojens from 10 to 12 January.

And this year we get a special hockey treat as the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games will take place in Lausanne with a premiere: the first 3-on-3 ice hockey tournaments beside the regular men’s and women’s U16 tournaments.

There’s a lot to follow during the upcoming weeks with game data, streams, photos and stories from the many events on and our social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and VK.