2020 IIHF Rankings, Olympic Seedings Released (UPDATED)


With the world on pause, and all international hockey cancelled, due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, the IIHF today answered a few of many questions coming out of the cancellations of most major World Championship tournaments, today releasing both the 2020 Men’s and Women’s World Ranking, which in turn has officially confirmed the first qualifiers for the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

Using the IIHF Sport Regulations guidelines, all points normally allocated for 2020 tournaments that went unplayed were given according to seeding position prior to the tournaments, so this year’s rankings feature far less movement than usual, with no changes in the Men’s top 12 or the Women’s top 6, and the biggest increases only being three spots for Kazakhstan and Netherlands, respectively. Only two women’s (Division IIB and III) were played in 2020 due to cancellations from the pandemic, while not a single men’s tournament was competed.

With the 2020 Rankings always set to represent the first qualification step for Beijing 2022, the groups are now clearer for both the men’s and women’s tournaments, with nine men’s and seven women’s teams now locked in.

The men’s tournament, which will feature Russia looking to defend their 2018 title in a tournament which may see the return of NHL players to the Olympics for the first time since 2014, will be grouped as follows, with the final three teams to qualify at the Final Olympic Qualification tournaments on 27-30 August in Slovakia, Latvia and Norway, respectively:

GROUP A:
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆย Canada
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ China

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Germany
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United States
GROUP B:
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Czechia
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ Russia
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ Switzerland
qualifier
GROUP C:
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Finland
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช Sweden
qualifier
qualifier

UPDATE 06 May: the IIHF has now postponed the men’s Final Olympic Qualification tournament to 26-29 August 2021, still to be held in Slovakia, Latvia and Norway. Whether any of the women’s Olympic Qualification dates will be moved will likely be decided by the 2020 virtual IIHF Congress, tentatively set for 10 June.

On the women’s side, the United States will look to make it two Golds in a row after their thrilling 2018 shootout victory over Canada, and these 2020 rankings will now set the full qualification tournament schedule in motion, set to begin on 27-30 August and end on 14 February 2021, with Czechia, Germany and Sweden hosting the Final Qualification tournaments to nab the final three spots in Group B:

GROUP A:
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Finland
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ Russia
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ Switzerland
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United States
GROUP B:
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ China
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต Japan
qualifier
qualifier
qualifier

While this was certainly not the way any of these teams envisioned punching their ticket to Beijing, the planning and preparation can now begin for when the eyes of the world are on China in less than two years. And for the qualifying teams, the hope is that the world will return to some sense of normalcy, and these qualification tournaments can be played in some capacity, to ensure that final groups are set, and to signal that international hockey, and ideally the sporting world at large, has returned to status quo.

Photo Credit: Pinterest โ€“ IIHF โ€“ HHOF โ€“ IOC

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