Zurich, Switzerland - The men's and women's Olympic qualifications to determine the remaining six (men's) and two (women's) spots start on Feb. 8 in three European cities.
The men's qualifications will take place in Oslo, Norway and Klagenfurt, Austria while the women compete at Engelberg, Switzerland.
The hosts (12) Norway will take on (9) Belarus, (14) Ukraine and (20) Germany in Oslo while (10) Austria entertains (11) Latvia, (15) France and (16) Denmark in Klagenfurt. The top three teams from each round-robin group will qualify for the Olympic Winter games where their positions in the preliminary groups will be determined by the ranking that is within brackets.
The ranking is based upon the team's performance at the 1999 IIHF World Championship in Norway.
(7) Slovakia and (8) Switzerland are already qualified for the preliminary round at Salt Lake City. (1) Czech Republic (defending Olympic Champions), (2) Russia, (3) Finland, (4) Canada, (5) Sweden and (6) USA have all gained berth to the Qualifying Round which is the last stage before the Quarter Finals. The top six rankings were determined by the results at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano.
In the women's qualifications at Engelberg, the hosts (10) Switzerland, (9) Japan, (8) Kazakstan and (7) Germany will also play a round-robin tournament where the top two teams will go to Salt Lake City.
The highest ranked team (based on their results in the 2000 IIHF World Women's Championships) will join the Olympic Preliminary Pool B with USA (defending Olympic Champion), Finland and China while the second ranked team joins Pool A with Canada, Sweden and Russia.
All Olympic Qualifications end on Feb. 11.