Sweden joined Canada and USA as the third team to gain automatic entry to the women’s ice hockey tournament of the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin. After playing Finland to a 2-2 draw at the 2004 IIHF World Women Championship on Thursday in Halifax, Canada, Sweden can not finish lower than fourth in the 2004 IIHF World Women’s Ranking which will be determined immediately following the conclusion of the 2004 IIHF World Women Championship.
By gaining the point against Finland, Sweden won Group C and advanced to the medal round Group D in Halifax, which means that Sweden will play either in the Gold Medal game or in the Bronze Medal game. Any of those final positions, 1-4, will award Sweden with at least a total of 2725 points in the IIHF World Ranking which will, in any scenario, be enough for a 4th ranking position following the 2004 IIHF World Women Championship.
Finland and Russia will now compete for the remaining automatic entry position to the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. Remaining games in Group E: April 3: Germany-Russia, April 4: Finland-Germany, April 5: Russia-Finland.
The top four ranked teams in the 2004 IIHF World Women’s Ranking get an automatic entry to the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. Host Italy (pre-determined ranking 8) will get a direct entry to the Preliminary Round while the remaining three teams will be determined following the Olympic Qualification Tournaments in November 2004.
Canada and USA, currently first and second in the IIHF World Ranking, also secured Olympic participation after winning Group A and Group B respectively. Click here for World Women Championship standing following the first group stage and the remaining schedule.
The second group stage in the 2004 IIHF World Women Championships starts on Saturday, April 3.