I noticed this on the IIHF's webpage. Apparently, next winter in Austria there will be a Winter Youth Olympics and it will include boys and girls hockey. The blurb on the IIHF's site says that the boys competition will be players born in 1996 and the girls will be players born in 1994. This makes the boys 15/16 and the girls 17/18. So I assume this means for the girls they will send the national Under-18 team to this. But for the boys, this does make for an interesting competition as Canada at least does not have a national Under-16 team. I wonder how they will pick the teams for this? Apparently the format will be 5 boys and 5 girls teams picked from a combined ranking of the Men's and Women's rankings after the Worlds in May. Austria will have a team in each tournament. So I wonder how the teams will be picked. Will they pick the best Under-18 girls teams and then the next 4 countries are the boys? On the other hand will they pick the top 4 countries from the rankings and that's that? I just wonder how they will weight the men's tournaments and the women's. I hope they do it straight up and not weight one more heavily than the other. Using the existing rankings, the boys side would be: Russia Canada Sweden Finland Austria (currently #14 in the World) The girls would be: Canada US Finland Sweden Austria (currently #16 in the World) At any rate, I understand why Austria gets in, but I can't see them doing very well. What are the minor hockey leagues like in Europe? Will Canada (and the US if they qualify) do better in boys simply because it seems that our developmental system is more organized? I remember reading something years ago that says that in North America kids start playing hockey at Age 4 and 5, whereas in Europe it is closer to 8 or 9. I guess the World U17s that they hold every year aren't huge blow outs by Canada's provincial teams. But knock a couple years off and I wonder. It also appears that there will be an individual skills competition for the top 15 players (one per country) from both the boys and the girls. These top 15 players will be picked from countries that are not in the tournament. So an educated guess means we will possibly see North Koreans or Hungarians in this competition. Anyone know much more than this about the tournament?