The stage is set for the men's and women's hockey tournaments for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games, with Team Canada looking to make it back-to-back gold medals after claiming both the men’s and women’s events at the Sochi 2014 Games. Despite a lack of green and gold on the ice, Ice Hockey will still impress the world as one of the only sports to appear in every Winter Games since 1924.
The men’s tournament features 12 teams broken down into three groups with four teams per group, while the women's tournament includes eight teams playing in two groups of four.
Teams will take to the ice in two new Arenas built especially for the 2018 Games. Within the Gangneung Coastal Cluster which also features venues for figure skating, speed skating and short track, the 10,000 seat Gangneung Hockey Centre, will host all of the gold medal matches and see the next Olympic Champions crowned.
The second venue for Ice hockey, named after the Catholic university campus on which it sits, Kwandong Hockey Centre offers 6,000 seats for Olympic spectators.
After months of speculation, the NHL released a statement on April 3, 2017 announcing it would not participate in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, meaning the 2018 will be without some of the World’s top Ice Hockey players.
Qualification, Nomination & Selection
Australia will be unrepresented in the Ice Hockey competition at PyeongChang 2018 after missing out on a qualifcation spot. The final qualification spots were decided at the Final Olympic Qualification Tournaments in September 2016 for the men and February 2017 for the women.
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Competition Format & Events
The 2018 Ice Hockey tournament will begin with preliminary round robin games – 18 for men and 12 for women. The men’s grouping was decided based on the IIHF World rankings, with the top eight countries of the 2015 ranking securing qualification automatically. With South Korea claiming the host nation quota place, three additional teams qualified through seperate events to be awarded an Olympic berth. Unfortunately Australia was not one of these nations.
The women’s group are divided with the top four ranked teams playing in Group A, while the remained of teams play in Group B.
At the conclusion of each game, teams are awarded points using the IHF’s Three Point System. 3 points to the winning side, 1 point to teams tied at the end of regulation place 1 point awarded to teams winning in overtime or shootout and 0 points given to the losing team at the end of regulation play.
Advancing to the knockout stage
After the preliminary round, teams are ranked from 1-12 using five criteria to determine the order.
In order of importance;
- higher position in the group
- higher number of points
- better goal difference
- higher number of goals scored for
- better 2013 IIHF World Ranking
The top four ranked teams will recieve automatic byes to the quarterfinals, while the remaining eight teams will contest Qualification Playoff games. The winners of each four games will move onto the quarterfinals. Winners of the four quarterfinal games advance to two semifinal games. The winners of the two semifinal games meet in the gold medal game. The winner takes Olympic hockey gold and the loser leaves with silver. The losing semifinal round teams play in the bronze medal game to determine the final podium position.
The women’s knockout stage starts with the top two finishers in Group A receiving automatic byes to the semi-finals. The 3rd and 4th place sides play the top two finishers from Group B in two “quarterfinal” games, with the winners advancing to the final two semi-final sports. The winners of each semi-final will play off for the gold medal, with the losers play for bronze. Classification games are also played to determine the final Olympic rankings for teams placing fifth through eighth.
At the Olympics, each game will consist of three 20-minute periods with two 15-minute intermissions. A five-minute 3-on-3 sudden death overtime will be played if preliminary and qualification round games finish the third period in a tie. In the quarterfinals, semifinals and bronze medal game, sudden death time increases to a ten minute period, 4-on-4 overtime. In the gold medal game, a full 5-on-5, 20-minute overtime period will be played if the score is tied at the end of regulation.
If any Olympic ice hockey game is still even at the end of sudden death overtime, a three-round shootout will be used to determine the winner. Following that, shootout “extras” will be taken, where any skater can take the shot.
Pre-PyeongChang AUS Tally