IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Breakdown

What is the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship?

Every spring since 1920, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) holds the premier international ice hockey tournament. Fifty national teams are broken up into four groups and battle for either gold, silver, or bronze medals. To start, teams are randomly placed into two groups, group A or group B, based on their world ranking. This ranking is based on their placing at the previous Winter Olympics, along with their four previous World Championship placements.

What countries play in the Ice Hockey World Championships?

The top 50 nations in the world compete in this tournament. Each of the 50 teams are placed into four separate groups: the Championship group, Division 1, Division 2, and Division 3. The Championship group consists of the top 16 hockey nations in the world. This year that includes Canada, Sweden, Russia, United States, Finland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, Slovakia, Latvia, Denmark, France, Austria, Italy, and Great Britain. The subsequent divisions consist of the next highest ranked teams.

Which players play in the Ice Hockey World Championships?

Any players, both professional and amateur, may participate in the Ice Hockey World Championships; however, players must be over the age of 18 by the time the tournament begins and must also be a citizen of the country they represent. Because this tournament takes place during the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, NHL players are only available to their respective rosters if their team did not make or gets eliminated from the playoffs. If selected to join the roster, players can choose whether or not they participate. Some big names at this years’ tournament include Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Kane, and Johnny Gaudreau, to name a few.

Which country has won the most medals at the Ice Hockey World Championships?

Since the creation of the Ice Hockey World Championships, Canada has gone on to win the most medals at this annual tournament. Canada currently has a total of 49 medals (26 gold medals, 14 silver medals, and 9 bronze medals). Canada’s 49 total medals is closely followed by Sweden, whose total is 47 medals. Russia currently holds the record for most gold medals with 27. This is largely thanks to their dominant run in the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s, where they won 18 gold medals in the span of 20 World Championship Tournaments.

What equipment is used at the Ice Hockey World Championships?

Since the Ice Hockey World Championship is an independent tournament and not sponsored by any sole major brand, players are free to choose what type of gear they wear. Most players stick with either CCM, Warrior, Bauer, or True. Almost all players wear the gear that they play in for their regular season games. Certain players are considered “brand athletes” and are considered the faces of certain brands. Jack Eichel is one of Bauer’s featured athletes, playing for Team USA, and uses the Bauer Supreme Equipment line that includes 1S skates, 1S gloves, and a 1S stick. Nico Hischier, of Team Switzerland, is a CCM athlete who sports JetSpeed FT2 skates, HG12 gloves, and a RibCor Trigger 3D stick.


This article was originally published on May 16, 2020, and has been updated with new information.