Ice hockey at the 1998 Winter Olympics – Men's qualification

Fourteen nations would qualify for the Olympic tournament, eight to the preliminary round, and six to the first round. The IIHF used the standings of the 1995 Men's World Ice Hockey Championships to determine qualification. First, the top six nations from Pool A would go directly to the first round. The preliminary round was made up of the nations ranked seventh and eighth, along with the host Japan, and five others from a series of qualification tournaments. The nations ranked nine through twelve went straight to the final qualification round.[1]

Regional Pre-QualificationEdit

Group A

Five nations played each other twice, both home and away, from October 25, 1995, until December 12, 1996.

Rank Team GP W L T GF GA PTS          
1    Switzerland 8 6 0 2 42 14 14 2–2 8–1 5–3 7–1
2   Great Britain 8 5 0 3 31 15 13 3–3 1–1 5–0 4–1
3   Denmark 8 3 4 1 23 28 7 2–6 2–3 4–2 4–0
4   Slovenia 8 3 5 0 32 24 6 1–4 4–5 5–1 9–0
5   Netherlands 8 0 8 0 8 55 0 1–7 2–8 3–8 0–8
Group B

This tournament was played in Tychy, Poland, from December 17 to 22, 1996.

Rank Team GP W L T GF GA PTS          
1   Ukraine 4 3 0 1 51 3 7 3–3 10–0 17–0 21–0
2   Poland 4 3 0 1 36 8 7 3–3 6–3 14–0 13–2
3   Romania 4 2 2 0 19 22 4 0–10 3–6 7–2 9–4
4   Bulgaria 4 1 3 0 7 40 2 0–17 0–14 2–7 5–2
5   FR Yugoslavia 4 0 4 0 8 48 0 0–21 2–13 4–9 2–5
  • Note: In January 1996 Greece beat Israel 10–2, but forfeited the result because of an ineligible player. Following that, in March of the same year Israel played Yugoslavia, in Lithuania, losing 5–3. Israel's loss is officially a 5–0 loss, the match was declared forfeit because they used ineligible players from Russia.
Group C

This tournament was played in Riga, Latvia, from August 27 to September 1, 1996.

Rank Team GP W L T GF GA PTS          
1   Belarus 4 4 0 0 54 4 8 4–1 13–1 16–1 21–1
2   Latvia 4 3 1 0 53 6 6 1–4 10–2 15–0 27–0
3   Hungary 4 2 2 0 19 31 4 1–13 2–10 7–4 9–4
4   Estonia 4 1 3 0 14 41 2 1–16 0–15 4–7 9–3
5   Lithuania 4 0 4 0 8 66 0 1–21 0–27 4–9 3–9
  • Note: In January 1996 Hungary played a challenge series against Croatia winning 7–0 and 6–0.
Group D

The Asian Winter Games were used as a qualifying tournament, and were played in Harbin, China, from February 5 to 8, 1996. Japan participated though already qualified for the Olympics.

Team GP W L T GF GA PTS        
  Kazakhstan 3 3 0 0 33 2 6 4–1 20–0 9–1
  Japan 3 2 1 0 14 6 4 1–4 7–1 6–1
  China 3 1 2 0 7 29 2 0–20 1–7 6–2
  South Korea 3 0 3 0 4 21 0 1–9 1–6 2–6

Final Olympic QualificationEdit

The top two from each group qualify, the two third placed nations play for the final spot.

Group 1

Played in Oberhausen, Germany, from February 6 to 9, 1997.

Team GP W L T GF GA PTS        
  Germany 3 2 0 1 11 7 5 3–2 4–1 4–4
  Slovakia 3 1 1 1 9 7 3 2–3 3–3 4–1
   Switzerland 3 1 1 1 6 8 3 1–4 3–3 2–1
  Ukraine 3 0 2 1 6 10 1 4–4 1–4 1–2
Group 2

Played in Innsbruck, Austria, from February 6 to 9, 1997.

Team GP W L T GF GA PTS        
  Belarus 3 1 0 2 12 8 4 4–4 6–2 2–2
  Kazakhstan 3 1 0 2 11 8 4 4–4 4–1 3–3
  Austria 3 1 2 0 7 11 2 2–6 1–4 4–1
  Norway 3 0 1 2 6 9 2 2–2 3–3 1–4
Play-off
February 11, 1997Austria  2–0
(0–0, 1–0, 1–0)
   SwitzerlandDuisburg Germany

  Austria secures the final spot in the Preliminary Round.

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