May 20 2014 ISN – 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;
– 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
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
Potential regional championships may also be included in the competition calendar
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
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