Championship updates
by Martin Merk|30 SEP 2022
The 2022 IIHF Semi-Annual Congress in Belek, Türkiye.
photo: Martin Merk
The 2022 IIHF Semi-Annual Congress has assigned several tournaments and approved a three-year contract for the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division I Group A.

To China for three years

The IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division I Group A will be hosted in China in 2023, 2024, 2025 if China plays in the group. The marketing deal was approved by congress.

A financial contribution to the IIHF of $3 million from the Chinese Ice Hockey Association will be provided each year the championship takes place in China. Each participating team travelling to China will receive $100,000 while the IIHF Council will decide later about the rest of the contribution funds.

Since the last congress the IIHF has been in discussions with the Chinese Ice Hockey Association on the marketing contract for the event before coming to an agreement last week. As part of the legacy program of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games and to further develop ice hockey in the country, the Chinese Ice Hockey Association wants to be more active in hosting IIHF events and organize the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division I Group A in front of its home audience.

“We will grow women’s hockey together and we want to welcome the teams in China,” Wang Xuan, the President of the Chinese Ice Hockey Association, addressed the delegates.

The proposed venue in China for 2023 is the 18,000-seat Shenzhen Universiade Centre that hosted the 2011 Universiade, an NHL game and games of the KRS Vanke Rays in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and Russia’s Women’s Hockey League.

Tournament allocations

The 2022 IIHF Semi-Annual Congress also approved other tournament allocations that were postponed because several tournaments of the 2021/2022 season were held between June and September due to the Covid-19 situation in January.

The new championship season will also see several new entries. Mongolia (as a host) returns to the men’s senior category where the Philippines and Indonesia will play the first time. Thailand will for the first time send a men’s U18 team and in the women’s U18 category there will be three new participants: Bulgaria, Belgium and Estonia.

Men’s senior category:

Division III Group A in Cape Town, South Africa, 17 to 23 April 2023
Participants: DPR Korea, Turkmenistan, Chinese Taipei, South Africa, Luxembourg, Thailand

Division III Group B in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina, 27 February to 5 March 2023
Participants: Hong Kong (China), Kyrgyzstan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Iran, Singapore, Malaysia

Division IV in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 23 to 26 March 2023
Participants: Kuwait, Philippines, Mongolia, Indonesia

Women’s senior category

Division I Group A in Shenzhen, China, 11 to 17 April 2023
Participants: Denmark, Norway, Slovakia, Austria, China, Netherlands

Division III Group B in Metula, Israel, 27 to 30 March 2023
Participants: Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Israel

Men’s U20 category

Division II Group B in Reykjavik, Iceland, 16 to 22 January 2023
Participants: Serbia, Belgium, Iceland, Chinese Taipei, China, Mexico

Division III in Istanbul, Türkiye, 7 to 14 January 2023
Group A: Australia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kyrgyzstan, New Zealand
Group B: Israel, Türkiye, South Africa, Bulgaria

Men’s U18 category

Division III Group B in Cape Town, South Africa, 13 to 16 March 2023
Participants: South Africa, New Zealand, Hong Kong (China), Thailand

Women’s U18 category

Division II Group A in Dumfries, Great Britain, 21 to 27 January 2023
Participants: Great Britain, Australia, Netherlands, Latvia, Türkiye, Mexico

Division II Group B in Sofia, Bulgaria, 16 to 22 January 2023
Participants: Kazakhstan, Iceland, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Belgium, Estonia

Click here for the full 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship program.

Qualification principles for the 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games

The next Youth Olympic Winter Games will be Gangwon 2024 from 19 January to 1 February 2024. The ice hockey events will take place in Gangneung where Olympic ice hockey was played at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games.

424 athletes will be involved in ice hockey with an equal gender split. 108 players each for the six-team men’s and women’s ice hockey tournaments and 104 each for the eight-team 3-on-3 men’s and women’s tournaments. Following an IOC decision, the 3-on-3 tournaments will be played with national teams and not as mixed-NOC events as in Lausanne 2020.

The qualification criteria were presented to the member national associations. The top-11 ranked teams and the host can choose to participate in either the men’s or women’s tournaments according to a Combined Youth World Ranking based on the performances in 2022 and 2023 of the men’s and women’s U18 national teams. The teams ranked lower have the right to participate in either the men’s or women’s 3-on-3 tournament where the host country will also have a team (of the opposite gender compared to the regular tournament).

Principles of reintegration of teams

Following the IIHF Council decision from 28 February 2022, Russia and Belarus are not allowed to participate in IIHF competitions until further notice. The upcoming 2022/2023 IIHF Championship season will proceed without the participation of these countries.

During the 2021/22 season, other teams have moved up in the various divisions and groups and the question arose what a reintegration would look like. In that case teams would move down between the different tiers to keep the number of participants the same.

The following basic principles as proposed by the IIHF Competition & Coordination Committee were approved by the 2022 IIHF Semi-Annual Congress:
  • As approved at the 2022 IIHF Annual Congress, Russia and Belarus would return to the categories and divisions in which they were originally placed prior to the Council decision. The men’s senior category with RUS/BLR in the top division would be seeded according to the IIHF Men’s World Ranking, women’s senior and U18 with RUS in the top division, men’s U20 and U18 with RUS/BLR in the top division according to the IIHF Sport Regulations.
  • The number of teams in each tournament would remain the same. To accommodate the number, there would be no promotion but teams would be relegated to reach the number of participants (WM=16 teams, WW/WM20/WM18=10 teams, WW18=8 teams).
  • The same procedure would apply to lower divisions with six-team tournaments, with groups to be filled top-down. That means if one team is placed into a lower division, the corresponding lowest-ranked team would be relegated throughout all divisions. If two teams returned in the men’s tournaments, two teams would be relegated throughout all divisions.
  • The deadline for a decision concerning Russia and Belarus is after the last preliminary-round game of the respective IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in the men’s senior category to prepare the championship program for the IIHF Annual Congress.
  • With no return of Russia and Belarus, normal promotion/relegation rules apply.
“To be clear, this decision does not indicate a return of the Russian and Belarusian teams to IIHF competition. Congress needed to take this decision so that the IIHF members understand the terms of a future reintegration of these countries into the IIHF program. The IIHF Council will continue to monitor the war in Ukraine,” said IIHF President Luc Tardif.