2014 Hockey World Championship Division I

2014 Hockey World Championship Division I

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19-Apr-2014

27-Apr-2014

Which two teams from the group A will be promoted to the 2015 IIHF World Championship in Prague and Ostrava?

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Information about 2014 IIHF World Championship Division I tournament

The 2014 IIHF World Championship Division I (Group A and B) is the second most prominent annual international ice hockey tournament organized by the International Ice Hockey Federation. As the quality of the teams playing regularly in the Division I is increasing rapidly, the tournament is becoming more and more popular among hockey fans. Since the two best teams of the tournament (from Group A) advance directly to the IIHF World Championship where they will compete against the best teams in the world, it is certainly an event not to be missed.

In its current format, the IIHF World Championship Division I tournament is divided into two groups. Group A will in 2014 take place in Goyang,  Korea, with six teams taking part and Group B with another six participants will be hosted by city Vilnius, Lithuania. Matches in both groups will be played in the same time beginning on the 20th of April and will finish on the 26th of April, 2014.

Group A, Goyang, South Korea

In the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A in Goyang will play the national team of the hosting country South Korea and another five teams - Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Japan and Ukraine. The tournament will be presented with the slogan “Beyond the New Horizons”.  The vice President of the Korea Ice Hockey Association and Chairman of the Organizing Committee Kim Sangwoo sees this tournament as a great opportunity to prepare for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, also hosted by South Korea (city Pyeongchang), where he wants to make the ice hockey tournament a highlight of the games.

The first proposed venue 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A was the Mokdong Ice Rink. However, in September 2013 the IIHF Semi-Annual Congress has approved a new venue in Goyang city. Goyang is a satellite city located about 30 minutes north of Seoul with approximately 970,000 habitants. There is an excellent connection with Soul by highways, trains and a subway line in the city. The tournament will take place in the Goyang Ice Rink, which was opened in 2005. The Goyang Ice Rink is part of a big complex called Goyang Eollimnuri. It has a capacity of 3400 seats.  

Group B, Vilnius, Lithuania

The 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B in Lithuania will host national teams of six countries – the domestic team Lithuania, Croatia, the Great Britain, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania.  The Vilnius’ Mayor Arturas Zuokas said that this championship will be the biggest event in Lithuania in 2014. The organizers expect an overall attendance of 30,000 to 35,000 fans. They believe that Lithuania will have one of the strongest teams in recent years on home ice with the hope that one of the best country‘s ice hockey player Dainius Zubrus will join the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B.

Also Lithuania, similarly to South Korea, considered firstly a different venue for the event. It should have been the Zalgiris Arena in Kaunas, the second-biggest city of the country. But eventually it has been decided that all matches will be played at the Siemens Arena in Vilnius. This big multifunctional arena was inaugurated on the 30th October 2004. It can fit up to 8 000 fans for an ice hockey game, for a basketball match it is up to 10 000 fans and if there is a concert, it can reach up to 12 500 spectators.

Format of the 2014 IIHF World Championship Division I

The teams in groups A and B play in round-robin tournaments independently. Within the group, each team plays only once against the other teams. Group A teams compete for promotion to the Top Division. Only the top two teams from the group A will be promoted to the 2015 IIHF World Championship in Prague and Ostrava, Czech Republic. The bottom team from the group A will be exchanged with the group B winner. The team from the last position in the group B will be relegated to Division II Group A.

The final ranking of the teams will be determined as follows:

  1. Higher position in the group
  2. Higher number of points
  3. Better goal difference
  4. Higher number of goals scored for
  5. Better seeding number

Participants of the 2014 IIHF World Championship Division I

This year, 6 teams in the group A and 6 teams in the group B have qualified for the tournament. In the group A, the South Korean team is the hosting team and finished on the 5th position in Division I Group A last year. Austria and Slovenia were relegated to the Division I Group A as the bottom teams of the 2013 IIHF World Championship. Ukraine was promoted from the 1st place in Division I group B to the Division I Group A last year. Hungary and Japan have qualified due to their placement at the 2013 IIHF World Championship Division I Group A.

In the group B, Lithuania team is the host and ended up on the 5th position in Division I Group B last year. Great Britain was relegated as the bottom team of the 2013 IIHF World Championship Division I Group A.  Croatia was promoted last year from the 1st position in Division II Group A to the Division I Group B. The outstanding teams qualified due to their placement at the 2013 IIHF World Championship Group B.

Group A (Goyang, South Korea): Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Japan, South Korea, Ukraine.

Group B (Vilnius, Lithuania): Great Britain, Poland, Netherlands, Romania, Lithuania, Croatia.

Brief history of the IIHF World Championship Division I

Early onset of Division I can be dated to 1951, when thirteen participating nations split into two groups. The top seven countries played in the group called Pool A for the World Championship and the other 6 countries played only for ranking purposes in the Pool B. In 1990, the IIHF presented a playoff system. As more and more countries have joined the World Championship, more pools were introduced (Pool C in 1961 and Pool D in 1987).  In 2001, the pool A became main Ice Hockey World Championship, Pool B was renamed as Division I, Pool C - Division II and Pool D - Division III.

Between 2001 and 2011, the two teams at the IIHG World Championship, who lost the relegation round, were relegated to Division I, and in the Division I, the winner of each group was promoted to the IIHF World Championship for the next year. As of 2012, the two team participating at the IIHF World Championship that end up last in their group are automatically relegated to Division I Group A and are replaced by the first and second team in Division I Group A. The winner of Division I Group B replaces the last team in the Division I Group A and the last team of Division I Group B is replaced by the winner of Division II Group A.

Historically, the most successful participants of the World Championship Division I (and its ancestor tournaments) are East Germany (Germany won three times additionally afterwards) and Poland, having won the tournament 6 times, followed by Italy with 5 tournament victories and Switzerland, Slovenia, Norway and Kazakhstan with 4 victories each.

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