The Arena Riga in Latvia will host a Final Olympic Qualification tournament for the third consecutive time in September. Photo: Jani Rajamaki / Europhoto
Japan advances to Riga
With the three winners of the Men’s Olympic Qualification Preliminary Round 2 known, the groups for the Final Olympic Qualification have been announced.
Italy as the top-seeded winner today will travel to Group F where they will face host Norway, France and Kazakhstan in an arena to be determined.
Japan, which also won on home ice, will play in Group E at Arena Riga with host Latvia, Germany and Austria.
Poland was the only winner that was not top-seeded in its group. After winning in Budapest, the Poles will travel to neighbouring country Belarus and play in Group D in Minsk with Belarus, Slovenia and Denmark.
The Final Olympic Qualification will be played from 1-4 September 2016. Thanks to the dates, teams can potentially use NHL players.
The winner of each tournament will qualify for the 2018 Olympic men’s ice hockey tournament in PyeongChang and join the already qualified top-8 nations and host Korea in the 12-team tournament.
The qualification for the Olympic women’s ice hockey tournament will be played during the 2016/2017 ice hockey season and the seeding be based on the 2016 IIHF Women’s World Ranking with the top-5 teams and Korea qualified and two more teams to be determined in the Olympic Qualification.
Final Olympic Qualification (1-4 September 2016)
Group D: Belarus (9), Slovenia (14), Denmark (15), Poland (22). In Minsk, Belarus.
Group E: Latvia (10), Germany (13), Austria (16), Japan (20). In Riga, Latvia.
Group F: Norway (11), France (12), Kazakhstan (17), Italy (18). In Norway.
Olympic Winter Games, Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament (9-25 February 2018)
Group A: Canada (1), Czech Republic (6), Switzerland (7), Korea (12)
Group B: Russia (2), USA (5), Slovakia (8), Qualifier 3
Group C: Sweden (3), Finland (4), Qualifier 1, Qualifier 2