The first qualification tournament for women’s ice hockey at the 2014 Winter Olympics begins today. Group H consists of South Korea, the Netherlands, Poland, and Slovenia. The other preliminary qualification tournament, Group G, begins October 12 and consists of Denmark, Croatia, Hungary, and Spain. The winners of these tournaments advance to the pre–qualification tournaments in November. The winners of these advance to the final qualification tournaments in February, 2013. These winners get the final two spots in Sochi.
I doubt that there will be any surprises in the preliminary qualification. Denmark should easily blow away the competition in Group G. The Netherlands will probably win Group H. South Korea, who are entering specifically because they will be hosting in 2018, most certainly won’t win. I know this might be an unpopular view in some circles, but if their current position (Division II Group B [the lowest level]) continues, South Korea shouldn’t be given automatic qualification when they host. In 2012, they lost twice to the Chinese junior U18 team. Sorry, but if they play anyone from the higher levels they’ll be blown out, badly.
Update (2012–10–01): The Netherlands advanced.
Update: (2012–10–14): Denmark advanced.