For the 12-team tournament at the Olympics in Korea nine teams are automatically qualified. The top-8 teams of the 2015 IIHF Men’s World Ranking and host Korea. After the quarter-finals of the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship it is already clear which countries will be in the top-8 positions: Russia, Sweden, Canada, Finland, USA, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Slovakia. (The final order and group seeding for the 2016 Worlds and 2018 Olympics will be known after the last four games at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.)
The three best teams that didn’t reach a top-8 position earned the right to host one of the three Final Olympic Qualification tournaments that will be held 1-4 September 2016.
Belarus will host Slovenia, Denmark and a qualifier from the Olympic Pre-Qualification. Latvia will organize the group with Germany, Austria and a qualifier; and Norway will be the host country in a tournament with France, Kazakhstan and a qualifier.
A record 37 countries applied to play in the 2018 Olympic men’s ice hockey tournament. The three qualifiers will be determined in nine events over four stages.
Following the allocation, the host cities will be named in the upcoming weeks.
The seeding for the 2018 Olympic women’s ice hockey tournament will be determined in one year based on the 2016 IIHF Women’s World Ranking and the qualification for the women’s teams will be played in the 2016/2017 season.
Olympic Winter Games, Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament (9-25 February 2018)
Group A: TBD (1), TBD (6), Switzerland (7), Korea (12)
Group B: TBD (2), TBD (5), Slovakia (8), Qualifier 3
Group C: TBD (3), TBD (4), Qualifier 1, Qualifier 2
Final Olympic Qualification (1-4 September 2016)
Group D: Belarus (9), Slovenia (14), Denmark (15), Qualifier 6. Host: Belarus.
Group E: Latvia (10), Germany (13), Austria (16), Qualifier 5. In Latvia.
Group F: Norway (11), France (12), Kazakhstan (17), Qualifier 4. In Norway.
Olympic Pre-Qualification (11-14 February 2016)
Group G: Italy (18), Great Britain (23), Netherlands (24), Qualifier 8. In Italy.
Group H: Hungary (19), Poland (22), Lithuania (25), Qualifier 7. In Hungary.
Group J: Japan (20), Ukraine (21), Croatia (26), Romania (27). In Japan.
Olympic Preliminary Qualification (5-8 November 2015)
Group K: Estonia (28), Mexico (31), Israel (32), BUL/GEO. Host TBA
Group L: Serbia (29), Spain (30), Iceland (33), China (34). In Serbia.
Qualification Game: Bulgaria (35) vs. Georgia (36) in Bulgaria. Venue and date TBA.
Note: The qualifiers for the Olympics and the various qualification tournaments will be entered in the order according to their position in the 2015 IIHF Men’s World Ranking.