Ice hockey at the 2010 Winter Olympics
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at the XXI Olympic Winter Games
|Venues||General Motors Place|
UBC Winter Sports Centre
|Dates||13–28 February 2010|
|Ice hockey at the|
2010 Winter Olympics
Ice hockey at the 2010 Winter Olympics will be held at General Motors Place, home of the National Hockey League's Vancouver Canucks, and at UBC Winter Sports Centre, home of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport's UBC Thunderbirds.
Changes from previous tournaments
The 2010 tournament will mark the first time since NHL players were allowed to compete, that the Olympics will be held in a city with an NHL team. For the first time, Olympic games will be played on a narrower, NHL-sized ice rink, measuring 61x26 metres (200x85 feet), instead of the international size of 61x30 metres (200x98.5 feet). This change is expected to save $10 million (CAD) in construction costs and allow more spectators to attend games.
This will also be the first Olympics in which the four-official system, with two referees and two linesmen, will be used during the men's tournament. The NHL began using the two-referee system since their 1998–99 season, while the IIHF first started using it in its major men's championship tournaments since the 2008 IIHF World Championship. However, for the women's tournament in Vancouver, the IIHF still plans to only use the standard three-official system with one referee and two linesmen, saying that the four-official system is not currently needed in women's international hockey at this time.
The games of the 2010 tournament will be held at the 7,200 seat UBC Winter Sports Centre and 18,810 seat General Motors Place, which is to be renamed Canada Hockey Place during the event because corporate sponsorship is not allowed for an Olympic venue.
Impact on the Vancouver Canucks
The games of the tournament will force the Canucks to play the longest road trip in NHL history, playing 14 games over six weeks, from 27 January to 13 March, so that GM Place could be prepared for the tournament. Due to the Olympics, the ice surface needs to be devoid of advertising and some seating areas will be converted to press rows for the duration of the games.
Following negotiations in the National Hockey League's collective bargaining agreement, an agreement was reached allowing NHL participation in both the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics. Some NHL team owners were against their players participating in the tournament due to concerns of the league's players getting injured or exhausted. Several players were injured during the 2006 Winter Olympics and were forced to miss NHL games. Gary Bettman addressed the issue saying that several format changes were being discussed, so that the tournament would be "a little easier for everybody."
Qualification for the men's tournament at the 2010 Winter Olympics was structured around the 2008 IIHF World Ranking. Twelve spots were made available for teams. The top nine teams in the World Ranking after the 2008 Men's World Ice Hockey Championships received automatic berths into the Ice Hockey event. Teams ranked 10th through 30th had an opportunity to qualify for the event. Teams ranked 19th through 30th played in a first qualification round in November 2008, where the top three teams from the round advance to the second qualification round. Teams ranked 10th through 18th joined the three top teams from the first qualifying round to play in a second qualification round. The top three teams from the second qualifying round advanced to the Olympic tournament.
The twelve teams in the men's event will be split into three groups of four teams. The NHL break will begin after February 14 and the tournament will start on February 16. At the NHL's request, the number of preliminary games that will be played was lowered to three. Following the completion of the preliminary round, all teams will be ranked 1 through 12 based on points. The top four ranked teams will receive byes to the quarterfinals, with the remaining eight teams playing for the remaining four quarterfinal positions. Following that, the final 8 teams will compete in a playoff to determine the gold medalist. Each team is allowed to have 20 skaters (forwards and defencemen) and two or three goaltenders, all of whom must be citizens of the country they represent.
Twelve teams will compete in the men's ice hockey tournament.
The women's tournament used a qualification format similar to the system used for the men's tournament. The top six teams in the IIHF Women's World Ranking after the 2008 Women's World Ice Hockey Championships received automatic berths into the Ice Hockey event. Lower ranked teams had an opportunity to qualify for the event. Teams ranked 13th and below were divided into two groups where they played in a first qualification round in September 2008. The two group winners from the round advanced to the second qualification round, where the teams ranked seventh through twelfth joined them.
The eight teams will be split into two divisions of four teams and each team will play three preliminary games. Following the completion of the preliminary round, the top two teams from each division will advance to the medal round and compete in a playoff to determine the gold medalist. The other four will play classification games. Each team is allowed to have between 15 and 18 skaters (forwards and defencemen) and two goaltenders.
A total of eight national teams will compete in the women's ice hockey tournament. These include:
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