WWIA: Norway and Hungary return to Women's Worlds
by Henrik Manninen|28 APR 2024
Norway earns the gold medal at the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championship Division I Group A in Klagenfurt, Austria. The Scandinavians will win promotion together with Hungary who edged France on the final day to finish second.

The top level of the 2025 IIHF Women’s World Championship played in Ceske Budejovice, Czechia will now include Norway and Hunagry, while Division I Group A welcomes back Denmark and China from above and Slovakia from below.

Norway returns to skate at the top level for the first time since 1997. Hungary seals an instant return to the Women's Worlds where the Magyars competed in between 2021-23.


Norway´s 27-year wait has finally come to an end. Tea Lokke Nyberg scored twice and Emma Bergesen once as Norway raced into a three-goal lead with just over six minutes gone in the opening frame. Seven scorers potted for the Scandinavians in their final game surging through WW1A undefeated to clinch a place among the world´s elite next year.

As one of the pioneers at the Women´s Worlds, the Scandinavians enjoyed three sixth-place finishes during the 1990s. Their most recent game at the top level was played on 6 April 1997 in a 1-0 loss versus Switzerland in Kitchener, Canada.

A point against already demoted Korea was enough for Norway to earn promotion of its own accord. But a geared-up Norwegian team went out on a high and dominated from start to finish in their final game. 2:27 into the contest, Norwegian nerves were settled when Bergesen drove towards the Korean net and hit a wobbling puck over the shoulder of Jongju Park to open the scoring.

Just ahead of the six-minute mark, Lokke Nyberg re-directed Ingrid Morset´s shot to open her scoring account in the tournament. Just nine seconds later the 20-year-old doubled her tournament tally with a one-timer from debutant Iben Tillman´s feed.

Eight months ago Norway had leaked 21 goals in five games in WW1A in Shenzhen, China. Under newly appointed head coach Andre Lystenstoen the defence has since been shored up considerably.

The return of veteran blueline duo Morset and Madelen Haug Hansen has been one factor as Norway conceded just six goals in five outings in Klagenfurt. So was the immense contribution from Ena Nystrom, back tending the Norwegian goal and instrumental in three shootout victories in the tournament.

Early in the second period versus the Koreans, Norway stretched their lead to 4-0 as the rebound from Lokke Nyberg´s shot from the left face-off circle was converted by Emilie Kruse from close range. Tillman fired Norway´s fifth from the slot at 30:57 before Haug Hansen made it six when barrelling past Ye Eun Park to tally high past Hyoseo Cheon in Korea´s goal.

Newcomers Korea with seven teenagers on its roster suffered its fifth straight loss as newcomers in the division. After scoring just once in five games the Koreans will now have to regroup in Division 1B next year.

With the game effectively over two generations of Norwegian player, Andrea Dalen and Une Bjelleland added third-period goals and further gloss to the victory. Dalen made her debut at this level in 2009 while Bjelleland was one of four debutants on the gold medal-winning roster in Klagenfurt.


Scoring on the powerplay early in the third period, Mira Seregely celebrated her 21st birthday by breaking a tie and sending Hungary back up to the top division.

Going into this game, the equation was simple. A Hungarian victory in regulation time guaranteed second place and promotion. Any other outcome would mean promotion and a return to the top division for France.

In a seesaw battle of an opening period, France went into the first intermission holding a slender one-goal lead after captain Lore Baudrit led by example to convert from the slot after just 43 seconds from a Chloe Aurard pass.

The pair most recently locked horns at the 2023 Women´s Worlds in Brampton, Canada when Hungary won 4-2. With both teams having suffered relegation then, an instant return to the world´s elite was now within their grasp. 
France´s Estelle Duvin burst through early in the middle frame to get close, but with less than a minute left of the period Hungary drew level. Sneaking up from behind Justine Crousy Theode´s net, Emma Kreisz found an unmarked Kinga Jokai-Szilagyi in her slot who carefully picked her spot to fire a wrister in the top corner with her first goal of the tournament.

In a frantic final frame, France´s netminder Crousy Theode took an early two-minute tripping minor that turned out to be crucial. With the penalty served by Anae Simon, Hungary went ahead with 34 seconds left of the powerplay. Alexandra Huszak fed Seregely whose one-timed effort from the slot sneaked into the net via Crousy Theode´s catcher for 2-1.

With France now forced to score to keep promotion hopes alive, a golden opportunity arose at 47:51 when Hungary´s Zsofia Pazmandi took a five-minute roughing major and game misconduct for checking from behind on Chloe Aurard.

With the meanest defence of the tournament and also leading the stats for penalty kill, Hungary withstood the pressure. With Hungary back at full strength, France upped the ante as time was running out by pulling netminder Crousy Theode from the net but Hungary held out for a memorable win.


In the highest total scoring game of the tournament, Annika Fazokas scored Austria´s overtime winner after 62:48 versus the Dutch to finish fourth.

With both teams having entered the tournament with much loftier ambitions than playing for 4th place, Kayleigh Hamers opened the scoring after just ten seconds with a slapshot from the left boards.

But backed by its vocal fans at the Heidi Horten Arena, Emma Hofbauer drew the Austrian's level just before the five-minute mark when her effort just sneaked in past Eline Gabriele in the Dutch net.

Gabriele looked bemused at 7:25 when the Austrians took the lead after Laura Luftenegger´s effort from the slot flew over the Dutch goalie for 2-1. 19-year-old Arwen ten Cate had taken over from Gabriele in the Dutch net as dominant blueliner Hamers tied the game for the Netherlands on the powerplay at 14:16.

Austria, eager to avenge a 2-1 loss to the Dutch last year, came out for the second period to race into a two-goal lead.

On a 2-on-1 breakaway, Theresa Schafzahl combined with Anja Trummer before deking Ten Cate with a composed backhand finish midway through the game for 3-2. Karolina Hengelmuller then scored her first World Championship goal for Austria´s fourth at 32:50.

Just 34 seconds later, the Dutch replied after Bieke van Nes won the battle with Emma Mortl in front of the net to slot home a rebound by Magdalena Luggin.

Fazokas then set Anna Meixner steaming down on a breakaway with Schafzahl scoring on the rebound for her second of the evening.

With Gabriele having returned to the Dutch net for a second spell, Marco Kronenburg´s coached team rallied back to tie the game with two late third-period goals on the powerplay by Julie Zwarthoed and Jet Milders.
In the ensuing overtime, Fazokas had first hit the post before converting Austria´s powerplay winner to send the Klagenfurt crowd home on a high note.