When the FIH unveiled the event hosts for the 2015–2018 cycle, Argentina was chosen to host this tournament. However, in March 2016, the FIH had to terminate all contractual agreements with Argentina as the Argentine Hockey Confederation was unable to fulfil their contractual obligations in regards to television rights, sponsorship and the hosting of events. Changzhou was announced as the host instead.
Alongside the host nation, the defending champions, the last Olympic, World Cup and World League champions qualified automatically. The remaining spots were nominated by the FIH Executive Board, making a total of six competing teams. If teams qualified under more than once criteria, the additional teams were invited by the FIH Executive Board as well.