- 01 Feb 2006
- Olympic News
TORINO 2006: Flow And Motion
The XX Olympic Winter Games – Torino 2006 will play host to 20 ice hockey teams during the men’s and women’s tournaments. There will be 12 teams in the men’s competition and 8 in the women’s, as Canada tries to defend its title in both contests.
The major change from Salt Lake City 2002 concerning ice hockey is the different playing format for the men’s tournament. In both Nagano 1998 and Salt Lake City 2002, the men’s tournament contained 14 teams and the competition was played in two stages. The top teams from the early preliminary round advanced to the second round, where the top ranked team entered the competition. In Torino 2006, there will only be 12 men’s teams competing in two groups of six with every team starting the tournament at the same time. The current system has several advantages: it puts all participating teams on the same level and the format is much easier for fans to understand.
In both men’s and women’s tournaments, the teams play a round-robin (each team plays the other teams within their group once). In the men’s tournament, the top four teams in each group qualify to the cross-over quarter-final, where the top team in Group A plays the fourth team in Group B, the second team in Group A plays the third team in Group B, etc. While in the women’s competition, the top two teams in each group will cross over to the semi-final stage, with the bottom two in each group crossing over to play for places five to eight.
No major rule changes have been introduced since 2002, but there will be new rule interpretations. The referees have been told to be stricter on calling restraining fouls like holding, hooking and interference. The objective is to have a better flow and motion to the game and to protect the skilful players, allowing them to excel.
The Olympic Winter Games will run from 10 to 26 February 2006 in Turin. The Winter Games comprise seven different sports and 15 different disciplines, which will be played out in eight different competition sites. Around 2,600 athletes, 650 judges and umpires and one million spectators are expected to participate in this 20th edition of the Winter Games.