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International Hockey - World Cup Hockey

History


Early years and World War II

In the early days of the Championships, the teams from Canada dominated. Between 1930 and 1939, Canadian teams won the tournament eight times. This occurred despite the fact that Canada sent a different club team each year, as in those days Senior Amateur teams typically represented Canada.

The World War II years caused the Championships to be cancelled from 1940-1946.

Post World War II through the 1970

Canadian teams continued to dominate the tournament in the early post-war era, but from 1954 onward the Championships became increasingly competitive, as USSR joined them this year, and teams Czechoslovakia and Sweden improved their skill level.

While the top European players were officially able to compete in the World Championships while retaining their amateur status, players in the National Hockey League were prohibited for many years from entering in the tournament. As the great majority of NHL players were Canadian nationals, this rule was seen by many as discriminatory against Canadian players.

1970 through the End of the Cold War

In 1970, the IIHF allowed Canada to send nine professionals from the ranks of the NHL and its affiliated minor leagues (though as the tournaments were held during the Stanley Cup playoffs, only a handful of them could actually compete). However, these rules were later rescinded after officials produced many reciprocal claims against them. It upset the Canadians, who felt?that they should be allowed to send their best players as well. Canada boycotted the World Championships for seven years as a result, during which the IIHF moved the championships out of the Olympics in 1972 and 1976 in an attempt to resolve the issue.

In 1976, a new president of the IIHF finally allowed professionals on all teams, and Canada returned to competition the following year. By this time, the quality of play of European hockey had improved so much that even Canadian rosters filled with NHL players whose teams had missed the playoffs could not dominate. Not until 1994, 33 years after its previous championship, would Canada win the tournament again.

Post-Cold War

By the early 1990s the breakup of the Soviet Union, which dominated the Championships for much of the three decades after Canada's dominance ended, and of Czechoslovakia, which won in most of the years in which the Soviets did not, brought about unprecedented parity to the international game for two reasons:

  1. Players in the former USSR and Czechoslovakia had the freedom to play in the NHL. Thus many European countries' best players were also competing in the NHL, and so unable to send their best to the Championships
  2. The breakup of the USSR and Czechoslovakia meant that the remaining core states, respectively Russia and the Czech Republic, had fewer talented players to draw from, even among those not playing in the NHL during the Championships.

The breakup of USSR and Czechoslovakia created a challenge for the IIHF because new national teams like Belarus, Czech Republic, Kazahkstan, Latvia, Russia, and Slovakia wanted to participate in the Championships at the highest level of play, pool A. The IIHF ruled that Czech Republic and Russia would be permitted immediate entry to pool A, but the other new national teams would have to start at pool C. It became clear that the new teams were or would soon be, better than many of the existing, but less elite, pool A teams. The Championships ran the risk of established countries being displaced from pool A by the new teams as they advanced from pool C. As the IIHF depended on advertising revenue derived from the established countries, it decided to expand pool A to accommodate the existing pool A teams plus the new rising teams.

In recent championships, the two nations of the former Czechoslovakia have fared extremely well in international play, accounting for four straight championships between 1999-2002 the first three by the Czech Republic and the latter by Slovakia. (The Czech side also won the 1998 Winter Olympic gold medal in Nagano, Japan). Canada has recently returned to prominence with an international trophy binge, capturing the 2003 and 2004 World Championships as well as the 2002 Winter Olympic gold medal at Salt Lake City and the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. The Czech Republic won the 2005 World Championship.

The Playing Format

The modern format for the World Championships features a minimum of 40 teams: 16 teams in the main group, 12 teams in Division I and 12 teams in Division II. If there are more than 40 teams, the rest compete in Division III.

The main group features 16 teams. In the Preliminary round the 16 teams are split into 4 groups (Groups A through D) and the teams play each other in a round robin format, and the top 3 teams in each division advance into the Qualifying round. The Qualifying round is another round of group play with 2 groups of 6; the top three teams from group A and group D are placed together and the top three teams from group B and group C are placed together. In the Qualifying round teams maintain their results from the Preliminary round against other teams who have also advanced, and only play against teams which they have not previously played against. The top four teams in each Qualifying round group advance into the knockout playoff stage. In the quarterfinals the first place team from one group plays the fourth place team from the other group, and the second place team from one group plays the third place team from the other group. The winners advance to the semi-finals. The winners of the semi-finals advance to the Gold medal game, and the losers advance to the Bronze medal game.

The bottom teams in the Preliminary round play in another group as well; this group will determine relegation. After a round-robin format, the bottom two teams are usually relegated to Division I. Japan was typically never relegated, as the IIHF held a "Far East Qualifier" with an automatic berth from 1998 to 2005 to develop the popularity of the sport in the Far East. Japan had always won this tournament, but due to the lack of popular support in the Far East, little improvement in the quality of play, and poor prospects for any related marketing, the IIHF has discontinued the practice in the 2005 Championships, relegating Japan to compete in Division I.

Below the World Championship group are two 6-team Division I round robin groups, the winner of which is promoted to the World Championship group, while each last place team is demoted to Division II. Division II works similarly to Division I, with two 6-team groups where each last place team is relegated to a Division III group. There is no relegation from Division III.

Significance

Because the World ?hampionships are played at the same time as the NHL playoffs, some of the world's best players do not participate. The World Championships receive far less media coverage in Canada than North American competitions do. In the United States, few sports fans are even aware the tournament exists. In the hockey-playing countries of Europe, however, the World Championships are one of the major events on the sports calendar.

IIHF European Championships

Year Gold Silver Bronze Venue
1910 Great Britain Germany Belgium Les Avants
1911 Bohemia Germany Belgium Berlin
1912 Cancelled
1913 Belgium Bohemia Germany Munich
1914 Bohemia Germany Belgium Berlin
No Championships 1915-1920 (World War I)
1921 SwedenSweden Czechoslovakia (only two teams) Stockholm
1922 Czechoslovakia SwedenSweden Switzerland St. Moritz
1923 SwedenSweden France Czechoslovakia Antwerp
1924 France SwedenSweden Switzerland Milan
1925 Czechoslovakia Austria Switzerland trbské Pleso / Starı Smokovec
1926 Switzerland Czechoslovakia Austria Davos
1927 Austria Belgium Germany Vienna
1929 Czechoslovakia Poland Austria Budapest
1932 SwedenSweden Austria Switzerland Berlin

Notes

  1. Berlin 1932 was the last separate IIHF European Championship event.
  2. European Championships medals were awarded to the European participants of the IIHF World Championships until 1991.

IIHF World Championships

Year Gold Silver Bronze Venue
1920 Canada United States Czechoslovakia Antwerp
1924 Canada United States Great Britain Chamonix
1928 Canada SwedenSweden Switzerland St. Moritz
1930 Canada Germany Switzerland Chamonix / Berlin
1931 Canada United States Austria Krynica
1932 Canada United States Germany Lake Placid, New York
1933 United States Canada Czechoslovakia Prague
1934 Canada United States Germany Milan
1935 Canada Switzerland Great Britain Davos
1936 Great Britain Canada United States Garmisch-Partenkirchen
1937 Canada Great Britain Switzerland London
1938 Canada Great Britain Czechoslovakia Prague
1939 Canada United States Switzerland Zürich / Basel
No Championships 1940-1946 (World War II)
1947 Czechoslovakia SwedenSweden Austria Prague
1948 Canada Czechoslovakia Switzerland St. Moritz
1949 Czechoslovakia Canada United States Stockholm
1950 Canada United States Switzerland London
1951 Canada SwedenSweden Switzerland Paris
1952 Canada United States SwedenSweden Oslo
1953 SwedenSweden West Germany Switzerland Zürich / Basel
1954 USSR Canada SwedenSweden Stockholm
1955 Canada USSR Czechoslovakia Krefeld / Dortmund / Cologne
1956 USSR United States Canada Cortina
1957 SwedenSweden USSR Czechoslovakia Moscow
1958 Canada USSR SwedenSweden Oslo
1959 Canada USSR Czechoslovakia Prague / Bratislava
1960 United States Canada USSR Squaw Valley
1961 Canada Czechoslovakia USSR Geneva / Lausanne
1962 SwedenSweden Canada United States Colorado Springs / Denver
1963 USSR SwedenSweden Czechoslovakia Stockholm
1964 USSR SwedenSweden Czechoslovakia Innsbruck
1965 USSR Czechoslovakia SwedenSweden Tampere
1966 USSR Czechoslovakia CanadaCanada Ljubljana
1967 USSR SwedenSweden CanadaCanada Vienna
1968 USSR Czechoslovakia CanadaCanada Grenoble
1969 USSR SwedenSweden Czechoslovakia Stockholm
1970 USSR SwedenSweden Czechoslovakia Stockholm
1971 USSR Czechoslovakia SwedenSweden Berne / Geneva
1972 Czechoslovakia USSR SwedenSweden Prague
1973 USSR SwedenSweden Czechoslovakia Moscow
1974 USSR Czechoslovakia SwedenSweden Helsinki
1975 USSR Czechoslovakia SwedenSweden Munich / Dusseldorf
1976 Czechoslovakia USSR SwedenSweden Katowice
1977 Czechoslovakia SwedenSweden USSR Vienna
1978 USSR Czechoslovakia CanadaCanada Prague
1979 USSR Czechoslovakia SwedenSweden Moscow
1981 USSR SwedenSweden Czechoslovakia Gothenburg / Stockholm
1982 USSR Czechoslovakia CanadaCanada Helsinki / Tampere
1983 USSR Czechoslovakia CanadaCanada Düsseldorf / Dortmund / Munich
1985 Czechoslovakia CanadaCanada USSR Prague
1986 USSR SwedenSweden CanadaCanada Moscow
1987 SwedenSweden USSR Czechoslovakia Vienna
1989 USSR CanadaCanada Czechoslovakia Stockholm / Södertälje
1990 USSR SwedenSweden Czechoslovakia Berne / Fribourg
1991 SwedenSweden CanadaCanada USSR Turku / Helsinki / Tampere
1992 SwedenSweden Finland Czechoslovakia Prague / Bratislava
1993 Russia SwedenSweden Czech Republic Dortmund / Munich
1994 CanadaCanada Finland SwedenSweden Bolzano / Canazei / Milano
1995 Finland SwedenSweden CanadaCanada Stockholm / Gävle
1996 Czech Republic CanadaCanada United States Vienna
1997 CanadaCanada SwedenSweden Czech Republic Helsinki / Turku / Tampere
1998 SwedenSweden Finland Czech Republic Zürich / Basel
1999 Czech Republic Finland SwedenSweden Oslo / Lillehammer / Hamar
2000 Czech Republic Slovakia Finland St. Petersburg
2001 Czech Republic Finland SwedenSweden Cologne / Hanover / Nuremberg
2002 Slovakia Russia SwedenSweden Göteborg / Karlstad / Jönköping
2003 CanadaCanada SwedenSweden Slovakia Helsinki / Tampere / Turku
>2004 CanadaCanada SwedenSweden > United States Prague / Ostrava
2005 Czech Republic CanadaCanada Russia Innsbruck / Vienna
2006 SwedenSweden Czech Republic Finland Riga
2007 Moscow
2008 Halifax / Quebec City
2009 Zürich / Berne
2010 Cologne / Mannheim
2011 Bratislava / Košice

Notes

  1. All Olympic Hockey Ice Hockey Tournaments between 1920 and 1968 also counted as World Championships.
  2. In the Olympic years 1980, 1984 and 1988, no IIHF World Championships were staged.
  3. In winning the 2006 World Championships, Sweden became the first nation in history to win an Olympic Gold as well as the World Championship in the same season.

Medal Table

Country Gold Silver Bronze Medals Participations
CanadaCanada 23
39%
11
18.6%
10
16.9%
44
74.6%
59
USSR 22
64.7%
7
20.6%
5
14.7%
34
100%
34
SwedenSweden 8
10.9%
18
28.1%
14
21.9%
40
60.9%
64
Czechoslovakia 6
11.5%
12
23.1%
15
28.8%
33
63.5%
52
Czech Republic 5
38.5%
1
7,7%
3
23.1%
9
69.2%
13
United States 2
3.1%
9
14.1%
5
7.8%
16
28.1%
64
Finland 1
2%
5
9.8%
2
2%
8
13.7%
51
Great Britain 1
2.4%
2
4.8%
2
4.8%
5
11.9%
42
Slovakia 1
9.1%
1
9.1%
1
9.1%
3
27.3%
11
Russia 1
7.7%
1
7.7%
1
7.7%
3
23.1%
13
Switzerland 0
 
1
1.6%
8
12.7%
9
14.3%
63
Germany 0
 
1
3.4%
2
6.9%
3
10.3%
29
West Germany 0
 
1
?
0
 
1
?
?
Austria 0
 
0
 
2
3.3%
2
3.3%
60

Notes

  1. Includes medals up to and including the 2005 championships.
  2. Under the number of medals is the percentage showing the ratio of won medals to all participations. Red colored shows the highest percentage for the column.
  3. The USSR and Russia have a combined total of 37 medals (23-8-6).
  4. Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic have a combined total of 42 medals (11-13-18).
  5. Czechoslovakia and Slovakia have a combined total of 36 medals (7-13-16).
  6. Czechoslovakia, Czechia, and Slovakia have a combined total of 45 medals (12-14-19).
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