Just days after France and Sweden were relegated to Division IA at the 2020 Women’s World Championship, their spots were claimed by long-time returnees Denmark and first-timers Hungary for the Top Division in 2020.
Hungary, playing on home ice throughout the tournament in Budapest, clinched the top spot after their final 2-1 victory over Austria to wrap up the tournament. Hungary, who finished 4-0-1 after only losing in a shotoout to Slovakia, finished with 13 points and two of the tournament’s leading scorers, Fanni Gasparics and Averi Nooren. The Magyars make the Top Division after joining the Women’s World circuit in 2000, going from the 22nd place squad to joining the top 10 teams in the game.
Denmark both clinched a promotion and eliminated their rivals Norway with a 4-0 victory over the Isbjørnene to finish with nine points, beating Norway on the tiebreaker with a 3-2 record, notching wins over Slovakia, Italy and Norway. The Danske Løver now return to the Top Division for the first time since 1992, where they finished seventh and did not return to the Championship level until Group B in 1999.
Both Hungary and Denmark will join Group B of the 2020 Top Division in Halifax and Truro, Nova Scotia, taking the place of both Sweden and France, joining Japan, Czechia and Germany, who all made surprising strides in the Quarterfinal. And in light of today’s stunning Finnish victory over Canada to knock Canada out of their first Gold Medal game in tournament history, and with the gap in parity closing tighter every year in women’s hockey, both of these teams will look to keep their place in the Top Division for years to come.