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The IIHF has announced a new format for the World Women’s Ice Hockey Championships.

The new format also divides the teams into two groups. However, it lumps the top four teams in Group A, and the remainder (plus the most recently promoted team, Germany in this case) in Group B. The top two teams in Group A advance to the semifinals, while the bottom two teams in Group A play in the quarterfinals against the top two teams from Group B. A best–of–three relegation round will be played by the bottom two teams in Group B.

Thus, the groups for the 2012 World Women’s will be:

Pool A Pool B
United States Sweden
Canada Switzerland
Finland Slovakia
Russia Germany

This new format also ensures that Finland cannot finish worse than sixth, which is enough to qualify them for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The 2012 Women’s World Ice Hockey Championships run from April 7 to April 12, in Burlington, Vermont. USA Hockey has also launched an official website.

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