The IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship began today. It’s being held in Zlin and Prerov the Czech Republic.
I don’t think there will be much of a change from last year’s tournament. The group winners will be the usual suspects— Canada and the United States. They will steamroller the opposition and will face each other in the final for the fifth consecutive time. I think that Switzerland and Russia will finish last in the groups and hence face each other in the best–of–three relegation round. The remaining countries will advance to the quarterfinals.
There was a best–of–three exhibition series between Canada and the United States. Canada won 2–1. Since there is no particular correlation between winning that series and winning the final, I still think that the US will win this tournament again. The bronze medal and positions 4–6 are potentially in play for the other quarterfinalists. Even though people in their own country express wonderment at the idea that women play hockey, much less have a women’s team, I believe that Russia won’t be relegated again.
Since there will be one–sided games, please be aware that such also happened at a higher–profile also taking place now (This is a poor scheduling decision by the IIHF). Unless you took the same view of blowouts in the higher–profile tournament, please don’t call for mercy rules or laying back here. Don’t engage in sexist double standards.
Prediction of final rankings:
- United States
- Czech Republic
- Switzerland – relegated to Division I for 2013