Finalizing The Field Of Teams For Sweden’s U16 National Championships
The next few weeks will separate the contenders from pretenders in the hunt for the under-16 national championship in Sweden. By late February, a field of just 16 teams from across the country will be finalized, and a series of round-robin events and elimination rounds will ensue in order to determine a champion.
It is the only age group in the country that crowns a national champion in youth hockey, and this season, it will go to the best 2006-born squad. Any older age groups are considered junior-level hockey, and younger age groups do not end the season with a consensus champion.
The country is broken down into four regions: North, East, South and West. Those regions are then broken down into districts, which can vary from seven in the south, to just four in the east. Win your district, and you qualify for regionals. Win your region, and you qualify for nationals. The process for earning automatic bids to the national tournament can vary from region to region, but in the end, four teams from each will advance to pool play next month.
Pool play for the 16 teams competing in nationals will take place March 11 – 13. Teams are split into four groups:
- Group A: North #1 and North #4, West #2 and West #3
- Group B: West #1 and West #4, North #2 and North #3
- Group C: East #1 and East #4, South #2 and South #3
- Group D: South #1 and South #4, East #2 and East #3
Each group will compete in three round-robin games over the course of the weekend, with three points on the line in each game. Three for a regulation win, two for an overtime win, one for an overtime loss. If overtime is necessary, the two teams play for ten minutes at 4-on-4. After that, a shootout will take place to determine a winner. The finals follow a similar format, except overtime will go 20 minutes, if need be.
After this round of pool play is complete, the top two teams from Groups A, B, C and D advance to the quarterfinal stage the following weekend, March 18 – 20. The eight remaining teams will be split into two groups of four once again, for a second set of round-robin games.
- Group E: Group A #1, Group B #1, Group C #2 and Group D #2
- Group F: Group C #1, Group D #1, Group A #2 and Group B #2
Points and game structure will be the same as previous pool play — three points per game, 4-on-4 overtime if necessary — and when the second weekend of action is complete, the top two teams from Groups E and F will advance to the semifinals.
Hosted on April 2 – 3, the semifinals, consolation and championship games will take place in the final phase of Sweden’s national championship tournament.
- Semifinal 1: Group E #1 vs. Group F #2
- Semifinal 2: Group F #1 vs. Group E #2
The semifinals are single-elimination contests. Winners advance to the championship, while the losers compete for the bronze medal. If overtime is necessary, the two teams play for ten minutes at 4-on-4. After that, a shootout will take place to determine a winner. The finals follow a similar format, except overtime will go 20 minutes, if need be.
Over the next three weeks, the North, East, South and West regions of Sweden will finalize the four respective teams to represent themselves at the national tournament. World Hockey Hub will have continued coverage of qualifying teams as well as exclusive news and updates from the national championship. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for the latest regarding Sweden youth hockey.
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