Women’s Worlds in Olympic years
by Martin Merk|22 SEP 2021
Danish captain Josefine Jakobsen and her teammates could play the next IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship on home ice. Denmark is the applicant for the tournament.
photo: Matt Zambonin / HHOF-IIHF Images
The 2021 IIHF Semi-Annual and General Congress in St. Petersburg, Russia, approved a change in the IIHF Statutes & Bylaws to allow the top-level IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship to be played annually including in Olympic years. The 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship will be hosted in August.

The IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship started in 1990 and has become an annual event since 1997 except for Olympic years. Since 2014 the lower divisions of the Women’s Worlds have also been played in Olympic years but not the top division with the teams participating in the Olympics creating difficulties in the promotion/relegation system.

Since many players have day jobs or study, having two big tournaments within two months would have caused difficulties. The solution that will be applied in the future is that the Women’s Worlds will normally played in March/April as in the past except in Olympic years when the tournament will be organized in August.

The proposal was approved by the IIHF Council as well as the IIHF Women’s Committee and the IIHF Competition & Coordination Committee and presented to the delegates at the last congress in June and today the formal change in the IIHF Statutes & Bylaws has been approved by the membership.

“We had many times discussions with the top countries. They are always at the Olympics but couldn’t play a few weeks later again, so we discussed whether it could work if we played in August,” IIHF Women’s Committee chairwoman Zsuzsanna Kolbenheyer said when presenting the proposal at the last congress.

“We know that after the Olympics many players end their careers with a highlight and that gives the opportunity to work with new players entering the team. We will now speak with potential host countries for 2022.”

Apart from giving the top female players another stage to play and promote the women’s game, another reason for the proposal were challenges with promotion and relegation since the lower divisions were played while at the top level no relegation happened.

“We had a good conversation within the Council. We wanted to find a long-term solution because we had a challenge with promotion and relegation every four years. We wanted to solve different issues with this proposal. It is a really fair solution for all the countries participating in the women’s program,” said Kolbenheyer.

The Danish Ice Hockey Union has applied to host the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in August 2022. Discussions with potential host cities are going on.

Denmark was in recent years promoted to the top division and played at the top-level Women’s Worlds in 1993 and 2021.

Event updates

With the withdrawal of Australia from the upcoming events in the men’s U20 and women’s U18 categories due to severe impositions in Australia arising from the Covid-19 pandemic including strict nationwide lockdowns, the prohibition of travel abroad and no possibility for vaccination in the age group yet there have been adjustments in these tournaments.

The IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division III will be played in two groups in Queretaro, Mexico with Israel, Bulgaria, Chinese Taipei and Kyrgyzstan in Group A, and Turkey, Mexico, Bosnia & Herzegovina and South Africa in Group B.

The IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s U18 World Championship Division II will also be played in two groups at the Istanbul Park Arena in Turkey at two ice sheets from 21 to 27 January with Great Britain, the Netherlands, Spain, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Mexico, Latvia and Iceland.

Congress approved Sofia, Bulgaria as a host of the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division III Group A that includes Ukraine, Belgium, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Hong Kong (China) from 4-10 April 2022 following the withdrawal of the other hosting applicant Romania.

Update 23 September: The 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division III Group B with Estonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia and Israel will be held in Belgrade, Serbia from 21 to 27 March 2022. The bid received most votes with Estonia and Israel being the other candidates.

Other changes

Another change in the IIHF Statutes & Bylaws that the membership approved was giving congress the power to change the IIHF Rule Book annually in the future.

The congress delegates also approved changes in various regulations among them modifications to the IIHF World Ranking that will adjust for the impact of cancelled tournaments during the pandemic as well as potentially include more participating teams.

Teams in cancelled tournaments, i.e. due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will get the points of the pre-championship report rank coming into the tournament and based on the past three years applicable as of the 2021 championship. The maximum number of points will be changed from 1,200 to 1,600 points due to the growing number of teams participating in the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship program. The changes will be applicable for the World Ranking in 2022.