The Ukrainian national ice hockey team

 has learned new opponents in the final round of qualifying for the 2026 Olympic Games after the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF)

extended the suspension of Russia and Belarus

.

"Blue and Yellow" won the pre-qualification tournament and 

reached

 the decisive stage of selection for the Olympics, where they were supposed to compete in the same group with Slovakia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, but due to the exclusion of the Belarusian national team from the Olympic qualification, the IIHF held a redraw.

The new draw sent Ukraine to quartet E, where our team will play against

Latvia

,

France

 and

Slovenia

.

All matches of the final part of the selection for the OI-2026 in this group will take place on August 29 - September 1 in Riga, Latvia.

In order to enter the Olympics, the Ukrainian national team needs to take first place in the quartet.

It should be noted that last year Latvia, France, and Slovenia took part in

the world hockey championship

in the elite division. Moreover, for the first time in history, Latvian hockey players won medals of the world championship - "bronze".

France and Slovenia failed to make the play-offs at the 2023 World Cup, with the French finishing sixth in their eight-team group, while the Slovenians finished last in their other group and were relegated to second-ranked Division IA.

In turn, the national team of Ukraine is currently in the third strongest division of the world hockey championship (IV), where this year it will play for the fifth time in a row. Last year, the "blue-yellow" claimed to the last entry to the IA division, but in the decisive match for promotion in the class

they lost to

Japan.

It will be recalled that the Ukrainian national ice hockey team played at the Olympic Games only once - in 2002, the Ukrainians took tenth place at the Olympic tournament in Salt Lake City (USA).

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