The IIHF Annual Congress today was held on the off day at the 2019 World Championships in Bratislava, Slovakia, with a number of major announcements voted on to impact the future of international hockey in the coming years.
Among the major decisions made were:
- The men’s qualification tournaments for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China were announced, following the same format in place since 2010. The top eight ranked teams in the world (Canada, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czechia, United States, Germany and Switzerland), along with hosts China, have clinched their spots, with the last three to be fought over by 36 countries playing in a four-stage tournament, with the final three spots to be awarded by August 2020. The women’s qualification tournaments will be announced at the next Congress in May 2020.
- The next three Men’s World Championships have been awarded – 2023 will be hosted in Saint Petersburg, Russia, 2024 will be hosted in Prague and Ostrava, Czechia, and 2025 will feature a joint bid between to-be-announced cities in Sweden and Denmark. Saint Petersburg hosts for the third time (after 2000 and 2016), with Prague hosting its eleventh Worlds and Ostrava their fourth. Sweden will host for the 12th time, while Denmark hosts for just the second time, after last year’s tournament in Copenhagen and Herning.
- The full calendar of 2019 tournaments was announced, with hosting duties for men’s senior tournaments going to Slovenia, Poland, Croatia, Iceland, Luxembourg, South Africa and Kyrgyzstan, hosting the newly-formed Division IV, the women’s senior tournaments will be held in France, Poland, Spain, Iceland and Bulgaria, and the men’s under-20 tournaments to be held in Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, South Korea and Bulgaria.
In addition, the previously announced IIHF Hall of Fame class for 2019 will be formally inducted, with the previously announced Miroslav Šatan, Žigmund Pálffy (both Slovakia), Hayley Wickenheiser (Canada), Jörgen Jönsson (Sweden) and Mike Modano (United States) in Bratislava to join the prestigious hall. Our congratulations go out to all of these immensely talented superstars!
All in all, a very exciting week of hockey just got a new boost of excitement for the future of international hockey!