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Twelve places were allotted for the men's ice hockey tournament. The first eight were awarded to the top eight teams in the International Ice Hockey Federation ranking following the 2004 Men's World Ice Hockey Championships. Those teams were:
The teams that automatically qualified include the same "Super Six" teams that were automatically qualified for the final group stage in the two previous tournaments, plus Slovakia and Germany which (IIHF rankings notwithstanding) are often regarded as the seventh and eighth best teams. The ninth place was given to the host nation, Italy. The final three places were allotted through qualification tournaments in which Kazakhstan, Latvia, and Switzerland won places.
The winners of Groups D, E and F advanced to Groups C, B, and A respectively. The winners of Groups A, B, and C qualified for the Olympics.