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Ice hockey world championship

Ice hockey world championship

General information

Ice Hockey World Championship – is an international hockey competition that’s held annually since 1920 under the auspices of the International Hockey Federation (IIHF). Sixteen national hockey teams are taking part in this competition – 14 teams have retained their place in the Top Division following the results of the previous World Championship and two teams that have risen from the First Division. Along with the Olympic tournament and the Canadian World Cup, it is the most prestigious competition in this sport.


This first Ice Hockey World Championship was held in 1920. The first three championships were a part of the Olympic Games (in 1920 as part of the Summer Games, in 1924 and 1928 as part of the Winter Games).

Since 1930, the World Cup has been held annually. Only a few years became an exception:

in the period from 1940 to 1946, championships were not held due to the Second World War; championships were not held in 1980, 1984, 1988 because of the Winter Olympics held in those years.

Ten times – in 1924, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964 and 1968, the World Championship was held during the Olympic tournament of the Winter Olympic Games.

The most significant number of times the World Championship (excluding Olympic tournaments) was held in Sweden – 11 times.

The Czech Republic hosted 9 times (including Czechoslovakia – 8 times)

The tournament was held 8 times in Switzerland and Finland

7 times Germany became the country of the championship.

6 times the world championship was held in the USSR – 4 times and 2 times in Russia and 6 times in Austria.

Among the cities that became the venue for world championships most of the times, the capital of Sweden, Stockholm, is a champion. The tournament was held there 10 times. 9 times championships were held in the capital of the Czech Republic and Czechoslovakia – Prague.

The tournament was held 7 times in the capital of Finland – Helsinki.

6 times the competition was held in the capital of Austria – Vienna.

5 times the world championship was held in the capital of Russia and the USSR – Moscow.

In the entire history of the World Championships, only eight countries have won gold medals.

The highest number of champion titles was won by the USSR / Russia team – 27 gold medals.

The Canadian team won the most significant total number of medals – 49!

The national team of Russia / USSR and the national team of the Czech Republic / Czechoslovakia have 46 medals each.

Format and rules

Group stage

The first stage involves 16 teams, divided into two groups of 8 teams. 4 top teams from each group will go into playoffs, and the last team from each group goes to play in the first division next year. At the group stage, teams in each group play among themselves. Only seven games, one with each team. Until the 2007 World Championship, the team received 2 points for a victory, 1 for a draw, and a loss of 0. Since 2007, the rules have been changed. If a draw is recorded in the regular time of the match, they play an additional 5 minutes (overtime) before the first goal scored in the 4 × 4 format (3 × 3 from 2017). If the overtime does not reveal the winner, then the teams break through a series of 3 shootouts. If there is a draw after three shootouts, then additional pairs of shootouts breakthrough to the first different outcome (that is, to the situation when one team scored a shootout and the other did not). For a victory in regular time, the team receives 3 points, for a win in overtime or in shootouts – 2 points, for a loss in overtime or shootouts – 1 point, for a defeat in regular time – 0 points.


In the second stage, only eight teams take part. The stage consists of 1/4 finals, 1/2 finals, match for third place and finals. This stage of the championship can be called a “knockout stage”. In the 1/4 finals, teams taking first places in the group stage play with teams taking 4th places in another group, and teams taking second places play with teams taking third places.  Winners of the quarter-finals go to the semi-finals, teams that lost in quarter-finals cease to participate in the tournament.

The winner of the 1/2 finals match goes to the finals, and the defeated teams take part in the match for 3rd place. If in games 1/4, 1/2 finals and in the game for 3rd place in regular time a draw is fixed, then the teams play overtime lasting 10 minutes before the first goal scored in the 4×4 format. In the final match, overtime is played in the 4 × 4 format (5 × 5 in 2017), and its duration is 20 minutes.

Trophies and awards

The team that took 3rd place receives bronze medals, 2nd – silver, 1st – gold and champion cup.

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