33 teams have applied for the 12 spots in the Olympics, with 9 of those places being already guaranteed to the nations ranked 1-9 following the World Championships earlier this year, meaning the remaining 24 must participate in a qualification process to determine which fortunate three others will have the thrill of participating in the actual Olympic Games.
Hosts Croatia (currently ranked 30th in the IIHF World Rankings), Serbia (31), Mexico (34) and Israel (40) participated in a round robin schedule to determine which of the four nations would advance to play in Group G of the Olympic Pre-Qualification tournaments in two months time from November 8th to 11th.
Croatia prevailed with three easy wins, 9-2 over Mexico, a 15-2 blowout over Israel and secured their place in the next phase with a 6-2 win over Serbia (their closest rival but a country with only three indoor rinks) to make their final goal totals 30 for and just 6 against.
The Croatian National Team first participated in the World Championships in 1993 in Pool C play. They made steady progress as they established their program, rising from an initial ranking of 31st in 1994 to 24th in 2001, which included winning Pool D in 1997.
With the new organization of the World Championship structure, Croatia began in Division I in 2001 and has spent seven years in Division I (with a best finish of 4th) and five years in Division II, which they have won twice (in 2005 and 2007) and where they have resided for the last two years.