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By International Hockey Lineal Championships

April 30, 2016

After Slovenia edged out Austria 2-1 and Italy defeated an upstart Korean squad by the same score on the last day of competition, the qualifiers for the 2017 World Championships in Cologne and Paris became more clear, although Slovenia is the only one with a guarantee of playing for now.

As they have done the last three tournaments under the current qualification format, Slovenia again clinched a spot in the Top Division, this time running finishing 4-1, only losing to Poland. That loss, however, had all teams except Japan in contention for promotion, but it was Ken Ograjenšek’s second period tally that held up as the winner against Austria, who Slovenia was demoted with at last year’s Worlds in Prague.

Italy ended their tournament at 3-2, dropping contests to Slovenia and Austria. But they managed to eke out a narrow victory against a motivated Korean squad on the backs of a solid performance in net from Andreas Bernhard, booking their first ticket to the Worlds since 2014.

Thus next year’s Division IA tournament is up in the air until the end of the Group Round at this year’s Top Division in Russia – however, Austria, Poland and Korea will remain next year, while Ukraine was promoted from Division IB. The picture will be more clear very soon, but our congratulations go out to the Risi (and our initial congratulations to the Azzuri) for their victories!

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Growing up in Canada I was a huge hockey fan, but it wasn't until the 1972 summit series and the 1976 Canada Cup that I became a big fan of international hockey. The best players in world all playing on a sheet of ice. 
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