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The final Olympic qualifying tournament for ice hockey at Beijing 2022 has been postponed until August 2021 due to concerns associated with COVID-19, the International Ice Hockey Federation announced Wednesday.
Initial qualifying was scheduled for August 2020 in Slovakia, Latvia, and Norway, with 12 countries - divided into groups of four - competing to fill the three open spots at the Olympics.
"We are fortunate that we still have some time to play these tournaments, and so that a move to August 2021 will still allow these teams to be able to ice their best players," said IIHF president Rene Fasel.
The countries set to compete next summer are as follows:
Group A: Slovakia, Belarus, Austria, Poland
Group B: Latvia, France, Italy, Hungary
Group C: Norway, Denmark, Korea, Slovenia
The IIHF announced on April 24 the three groups of qualified countries, along with their respective world rankings.