— Published 8 December 2021

Chinese hockey players will see the Games

The parenthesis is closed and the threat lifted. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), now chaired by Frenchman Luc Tardif, announced on Tuesday 7 December that the Chinese men’s team would retain its place in the next Olympic tournament. Qualified since 2018 as the host country of the Winter Games, China was threatened with losing its place, as its men’s team had not played a single international match in almost two years. Since his election as IIHF president, Luc Tardif had made no secret of his concern that China would suffer one correction after another in the tournament. He also said that Norway, the top-ranked non-qualifier, was ready to replace China. Eligible players from the Chinese team were invited to play two games last month with the Kunlun Red Star team in the Kontinental Hockey League “to assess the team’s readiness.” Obviously, this double test was deemed conclusive by the IIHF. Currently ranked 32nd in the world, China will face three tough opponents at the Beijing Games – Canada, the United States and Germany – all of whom are reinforced by their NHL players.