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Posts tagged ‘2014 Winter Olympics’

2013 Women’s World Championship preview and prediction

The 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship begins today. It is being held in Ottawa, and is the last major competition before the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The teams are competing in two groups. They are as follows:

Pool A Pool B
Canada Sweden
United States Russia
Switzerland Germany
Finland Czech Republic

The top two teams in Group A get byes to the semifinals. The bottom two teams in Group A play the top two teams in Group B in the quarterfinals, with the winners advancing to the semifinals. The bottom two teams in Group B play in a best–of–three relegation round.

I think that the final ranking will be as follows:

  1. Canada: All the home fans will provide enough support for us to pull through and win our eleventh title.
  2. United States: This year’s final will be a repeat of the other fourteen, and the US will be in second place again.
  3. Finland: Finland will continue its streak of playing in every bronze medal game.
  4. Sweden: Since Sweden’s U18 team has recently been the third–best time at that level. It’s performance there will eventually “leak through” to the senior tournament; that is an inevitability. Now is as good as year as any for that to start happening.
  5. Switzerland: The defending bronze medalists will finish in fifth this time.
  6. Russia: They have an unofficial goal of winning a bronze at the 2014 Winter Olympics, but with only 500 registered players (far fewer than the top teams and a lower number than those big–time hockey powers of Japan, the United Kingdom, and Australia) the obstacles ahead of them seem too great. They cannot possibly show enough improvement in this tournament.
  7. Germany: The Germans’ far greater experience at the top level will carry them through the relegation round.
  8. Czech Republic: They will head back down after one year in the top division

Also, trivia alert! This tournament is the second time the second time the IIHF Women’s World Championship has been held there. The previous time was the first edition of the tournament, in 1990. At least this time Team Canada won’t have those pink uniforms!

Germany and Japan qualify for Sochi

The qualification tournaments for the final two spots for the 2014 Winter Olympics have concluded, and Germany and Japan have qualified. It is Germany’s first visit to the Olympics since 2002 and Japan’s first since they hosted the first tournament in 1998. It will also be Japan’s highest level of competition since they were relegated from the main tournament in 2009.

Both teams will play in group B at the 2014 Winter Olympics. The groups for that tournament are:

Group A

Canada
United States
Finland
Switzerland

Group B

Sweden
Russia
Germany
Japan

As for my predictions, I correctly predicted Germany, but was wrong with Slovakia. And in the meantime, Team Norway ought to avoid 3–0 leads of any kind….

Final Olympic Qualification tournaments start today

Today marks the start of the final qualification tournaments for women’s ice hockey at the 2014 Winter Olympics. They both run through to February 10. The winners of the Group C and Group D tournaments get the final two spots in Sochi, and will join Sweden and Russia in Group B at the Olympics.

Group C is as follows, and is playing in Poprad, Slovakia.

Slovakia
Norway
Japan
Denmark

Slovakia will probably win, but I can conceive of Japan or Norway also qualifying. This will be the highest–level tournament Denmark will have played in in several years, so they are probably in over their heads.

Group D is as follows, and is playing in Weiden, Germany.

Germany
Kazakhstan
Czech Republic
China

This tournament is definitely the Group of Death. Germany is probably the favourite, but all teams have a realistic chance of qualifying for Sochi. The final ranking could well come down to tiebreakers. There will be no surprise winner here, as no matter who wins, it won’t be a surprise.

And my long time readers will notice that if my predictions come true, the 2014 Winter Olympics will end up being a virtual rerun of the 2012 World Championship, only with Switzerland and Russia changing places.

Qualifying for 2014 begins today

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 (2012–1001): The Netherlands advanced.

Update: (2012–10–14): Denmark advanced.

Canada wins!

Team Canada has won the 2012 IIHF Women’s World Championship! The United States won second, and the surprise bronze medal winner was Switzerland, who had their best finish ever. Congratulations to all the medal winners. This is Canada’s tenth win, and first since 2007. The final rankings are as follows:

  1. Canada
  2. United States
  3. Switzerland
  4. Finland
  5. Sweden
  6. Russia
  7. Germany
  8. Slovakia – Relegated to Division IA for 2013

Barring a change in format, the groups for the 2013 tournament will be:

Pool A Pool B
Canada Sweden
United States Russia
Switzerland Germany
Finland Czech Republic

Based on their finishes, Sweden and Switzerland have qualified for the 2014 Winter Olympics, where they will join Canada, the United States, Finland, and Russia. The two remaining spots will go to the winners of qualification tournaments.

The 2013 edition will be held April 2–9, 2013 in Ottawa.

Women’s World Championship final prediction

This is my prediction for the 2012 Women’s World Championship, which begins right now. Canada and the United States can be considered the “Big Two” of women’s hockey, and predicting them to reach the finals is always a safe bet. Finland and Sweden can be considered the “Little Two” and are usually the other medal contenders. The remaining teams are well–behind the top four (especially the top two), occasional upsets notwithstanding.

As for background, Canada and the United States teams have met in all of the previous thirteen finals. Finland has played in every bronze medal game. The only other team to win a medal was Russia in 2001. As much as I would prefer someone else to make the finals, I predict that the current streaks will continue.

Since I am Canadian I will be cheering for Team Canada. (Careful readers, noting this and my desire for some team other than Canada and the United States to make the finals, should deduce that I would like the United States to be upset [which has happened!])  If Finland or Sweden’s goalies pull a fast one there might be an upset. No one else has a snowball’s chance in hell of making the finals, and only a little better chance of winning a medal.

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2012 Women’s World Championships preview

The 2012 IIHF Women’s World Championship begins tomorrow in Burlington, Vermont. It runs until April 14. It has eight teams and divided into groups as follows:

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

All four teams in Group A will qualify for the medal round. The top two teams will have byes to the semifinals, while the bottom two will play in the quarterfinals against the top two teams from Group B. The bottom two teams in Group B will play in a best–of–three relegation round. The loser is relegated to next year’s Division I Group A and will be replaced by the winner of the recently–concluded Division I Group A tournament, the Czech Republic.

The tournament will also update the IIHF World Ranking. That will determine qualifications for the 2014 Winter Olympics (more discussion next post).

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