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IPC Ice Sledge Hockey reveals new competition cycle in lead-up to PyeongChang 2018

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USA vs Canada in game in October in Buffalo

 

Following an extensive review of the current state of the sport and major 
success at Sochi 2014, IPC Ice Sledge Hockey has revealed the competition cycle 
and the qualification criteria for the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.

A fair and robust method of qualification progression has been created 
throughout the next quadrennial period for all participating teams which looks 
as follows:

- Year 1 (2015): World Championships A-Pool; World Championships B-Pool
- Year 2 (2016): World Championships C-Pool; Regional championships
- Year 3 (2017): World Championships A-Pool; World Championships B-Pool; 
Qualification Tournament
- Year 4 (2018): Paralympic Winter Games; World Championships C-Pool

The USA enter the next Paralympic cycle as the two-time Paralympic champions, 
while Canada are the reigning world champions and South Korea will automatically 
qualify for PyeongChang 2018 as the host nation's team.

Keith Blase, Chairperson of the IPC Ice Sledge Hockey Sport Technical Committee, 
said: "We are very excited to enhance the IPC Ice Sledge Hockey competition 
calendar for the next Paralympic cycle, which includes a World Championships 
C-Pool to include more developing nations in the sport and expand its reach."

The World Championships A-Pool and B-Pool have been moved to years one and three 
in the Paralympic cycle based on input from participating nations at the last 
IPC Ice Sledge Hockey Sport Forum.

In 2015, the World Championships A-Pool will bring together the world's top 
eight teams and in the same year the B-Pool event will include the next six best 
teams.

Joining Canada and the USA in the A-Pool currently are Russia, Czech Republic, 
Norway, Italy, Japan and Germany. The B-Pool at the moment includes South Korea, 
Sweden, Great Britain, Estonia, Slovakia and Poland.

The bottom two finishers from the A-Pool will be relegated to the B-Pool for the 
2017 edition of the event, and the top two finishers from the B-Pool will be 
promoted to the A-Pool for 2017.

The last-place team at the World Championships B-Pool will be relegated to a new 
C-Pool tournament, which will be created and run in the second and fourth years 
of each quadrennial. 

The C-Pool tournament, to begin in 2016, will provide the opportunity for 
emerging and newly practicing countries to take part at a competitive 
international level, contributing to the growth and development of IPC Ice 
Sledge Hockey worldwide. The top finisher from the C-Pool tournament will be 
promoted to the B-Pool for the next event.

Potential regional championships may also be included in the competition 
calendar for 2016.

Then in 2017, the top five finishers from the World Championships A-Pool will 
directly qualify for PyeongChang 2018. The bottom three teams from the A-Pool 
event and the top three teams from the B-Pool event will compete at the 
Qualification Tournament for PyeongChang 2018 that same year.

The top two or three finishers at the Qualification Tournament - depending on 
the status of the Paralympic host nation's team - will move on to PyeongChang 
2018.  

A World Championships C-Pool will also take place during the same year as the 
Paralympic Winter Games. 

During the last Paralympic cycle, IPC Ice Sledge Hockey continued to grow, as 
two countries started up new national programmes, the Ottobock Equipment Loaner 
Programme was launched and a growth in media coverage brought the likes of The 
New York Times, NBC, BBC, Russia Today and the Associated Press to the Shayba 
Arena in Sochi.

IPC Ice Sledge Hockey now hopes to build off that success during the next 
Paralympic cycle, increasing the number of athletes and nations practicing the 
sport as well as international awareness.

 

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