Eight teams will take to the ice at the National Indoor Stadium for the Para ice hockey tournament at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games.
With a little more than half a year go to, five teams have already qualified for the tournament, with three spots left to fill.
How does the qualification process work? Let’s take a look.
By finishing in the top five at the World Para Ice Hockey Championships last month in Ostrava, Czech Republic, the following teams have already earned their places in Beijing: USA, Canada, RPC, South Korea, and the Czech Republic.
As the host nation of the Winter Games, China will also qualify as long as it participates in the World Championships B-Pool in September. China may also choose to compete in the Paralympic Qualification Tournament if it finishes in the top three at the World Championships B-Pool.
Regardless of its finish at those events, China is guaranteed a spot at the Paralympic Winter Games. Its placement in those events will only be relevant for the tournament seeding in Beijing.
The top two ranked teams at the Paralympic Qualification Tournament – or top three if China finishes in the top two – will earn the final spots in Beijing. The Paralympic Qualification Tournament will include Norway, Italy and Slovakia, and the top three finishers from September’s World Championships B-Pool.
Each National Paralympic Committee can enter a team of either 17 eligible male athletes or 18 eligible athletes, of whom at least one is female. All athletes must be at least 16 years of age by 1 January 2022.
All the details regarding the qualification criteria for the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games Para ice hockey tournament can be found here.
Para ice hockey made its Paralympic debut at Lillehammer 1994 in Norway, the sixth edition of the Winter Paralympics.
The USA lead the all-time medals tally with four gold and one bronze, followed by Norway (one gold, three silver and one bronze) and Canada (one gold, two silver and two bronze).