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1970 IIHF World Championship
1970 IIHF World Championship logo (WFAC)
Tournament details
Host country Canada
Dates 2–15 September 1970
Teams 8
Venue(s) (in 2 host cities)
Final positions
Champions Gold medal blank Canada Canada (18th title)
Runner-up Silver medal blank Soviet Union Soviet Union
Third place Bronze medal blank Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia
Fourth place Sweden Sweden
Tournament statistics
Matches played 40
Scoring leader(s) Soviet Union Alexander Maltsev (18 points)
(21 points)
MVP Canada Phil Esposito
1969
1971

The 1970 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships was the 37th edition of the Ice Hockey World Championships hosted by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). Teams participated at three levels of competition. The Pool A tournament was played between 2–15 September 1970 in in Montreal and Winnipeg, Canada. The Soviet Union was the defending champion, having won the previous championship.

The Pool A tournament was the first true best-on-best world championship in hockey history as it allowed any player to represent their team regardless of amateur or professional status. It was an eight-team, round robin tournament with playoff round comprising of two semifinals, a bronze medal game and a final.

Canada was favoured by many sportswriters to win as they had brought what was argued to be the strongest team in the nation's history, with the Soviet Union as the contenders. Despite the strength of the Canadian team, the Soviet Union surprised the Canadian team and most of the hockey media with an opening game victory, 7–3. Despite the loss to the Soviets in the preliminary round, Canada finished atop the standings and met the Soviet Union in the final. The final was won in dramatic fashion, with the Canadians overcoming a two-goal Soviet lead after two periods. The Canadians scored three in the third, the final one scored with 34 seconds left, by Paul Henderson. Czechoslovakia won against Sweden 5–4 for the bronze medal. Phil Esposito was named the most valuable player of the tournament, and Alexander Maltsev was the leading scorer.

The series was played during the Cold War, and intense feelings of nationalism were aroused in both Canada and the Soviet Union, as well as on the ice. The games introduced several talented Soviet players to North America, such as Alexander Yakushev, Valeri Kharlamov and goaltender Vladislav Tretiak; the latter two are Hockey Hall of Fame inductees. Team Canada, the first NHL and professional all-star team formed for international play, was led by Phil Esposito, who led the Canadian team in scoring, as well as contributing in other roles. In Canada, the tournament is a source of national pride, and is seen by many as a landmark event in Canadian cultural history. In Canada, Paul Henderson's goal is considered to be one of the most famous in the history of the game.

Consequently, the success of the event paved the way for the use of professional players in the World Championship and later the Winter Olympics. This tournament was also the first one to make helmets mandatory for all skaters.

Background

From the beginning of the IIHF World Championships in 1920, the tournament was open only for amateur players. Canada would send a senior amateur club team, usually the previous year's Allan Cup champion, to compete as the Canadian entry. These teams were often university players, or unpaid players playing ice hockey while being employed in some other profession full-time. From the 1920s until the 1950s, Canadian amateur club teams won most of the World Championship and Olympic titles. As a career, Canadian players would play instead in the various professional hockey leagues, the best reaching the NHL. Their professional status made them ineligible to play in the World Championships or Olympics under the rules of the time.

Post-World War II, a goal of the Central Committee of the Soviet Union was world supremacy in sport, which included ice hockey, which differed from bandy, or "Russian hockey". Starting in the 1940s, the Soviet Union started a Soviet hockey league playing the Canadian game. The elite sports societies of the Soviet Union, such as Central Sports Club Army, Dynamo and Spartak, soon became the elite teams of the hockey league and supplied the players for the national team. Ostensibly amateurs, the players played hockey full-time, paid by the government. The players had other titular professions; for example Moscow Dynamo players became officers of the KGB; CSKA Moscow players became officers in the army. This preserved a player's amateur status for Olympic and World Championship eligibility and the players would have a career after their hockey playing days ended.

Entering international play in 1954, the Soviet national team under the tutelage of Anatoli Tarasov started to dominate the international competitions: they won nine championships between 1954 and 1969, including seven consecutive titles in the 1960s. Canada, in response, implemented a national team program in 1962, led by Father David Bauer. However, Canada's best players usually became professionals and the national team featured mostly university players. The Canadian team did not win any championships and was looked upon as a failure.

The first nation of hockey was becoming painfully aware that their amateur players were no longer able to compete successfully against the best European national teams. In the six world championships since 1964, Canada managed to win the bronze three times, remaining without medals at other tournaments. By 1969, the Government of Canada had formed Hockey Canada, an organization to co-ordinate Canadian international play with its amateur organizations and the NHL. The organization was convened in March 1969 in Toronto to select the best team possible to represent the country at the 1970 IIHF World Championship, which was scheduled to be held in Canada, for the first time.

Canada’s representatives at the IIHF Congress 15-30 March 1969 in Stockholm opened a discussion about the joint participation of amateurs and professionals. The proposal was approved with a majority of votes, with the Canadian, American, Soviet, Czechoslovak and British delegates voting in favor while the Swedish and Finnish delegates voting against. The congress also elected a new president to replace the American William Thayer Tutt, who had been president since 1966. The frontrunner was the British candidate John "Bunny" Ahearne, who had been IIHF president from 1957–60 and 1963–66 as well as vice president between 1951–57, 1960–63 and 1966–69. However, Ahearne had become increasingly controversial due to his stubborn and difficult leadership style and since he enjoyed to run the federation as a personal travel office as the "boss", causing growing opposition against him. However, an opposition candidate presented himself in the person of Czechoslovak Miroslav Šubrt. Šubrt was elected president on the first ballot with 32 votes to 18.

The discussions continued at the IIHF summer congress 5 – 12 July 1969 in Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland. This assembly was attended by an unusually large Canadian delegation of 15 people, headed by the National Hockey League (NHL) president Clarence Campbell. A documentary about professional hockey was also shown with Canada’s prime minister Pierre Trudeau addressing the congress with a proposal to make the world championships open. Offers such as inviting the nations' six best players to come to North America and watch NHL games with everything paid for and inviting the national coaches to come North America to attend seminars with the NHL coacches were not only given to the European A pool but also to the nations in the B- and C pool. The vote on the “open championships” was divided. Some 27 delegates voted in favour and 23 against the proposal. As the resolution was under discussion, the vote was indecisive with IIHF President Šubrt convincing enough delegated to vote in its favour.

During the Autumn of 1969, the International Olympic Committee heard about the IIHF's decision. IOC's president, Avery Brundage, an American, who was strongly opposed to amateurs and professionals competing together, was very upset, and he made it clear to the IIHF that any violation of this code would jeopardize ice hockey's status as an olympic sport.

Fearing both a rift in the relationship with the IOC and that an absence of Canada would be a massive blow to international hockey, IIHF president Miroslav Šubrt worked to reconcile the opposing sides. He initiated talks with both the IOC and the NHLPA president and Hockey Canada director Alan Eagleson. At an extraordinary IIHF summit in Geneva, Switzerland, the IIHF announced a compromise agreement on 4 January 1970. The world championships would move to an open format that allowed professionals to participate alongside amateurs. The Olympic ice hockey tournament, however, would remain a strictly amateur tournament (which lasted until 1994). To avoid a clash between the tournament and the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Pool A tournament would be moved to start-September. The Canadians also agreed to play the games under international rules as well as agreed to IIHF amateur referees. The refereeing would use the international two referee system.

While the IIHF eligibility rule change was met positively by the Canadians and the Americans, as well as the Soviets and the Czechoslovaks, the move alarmed Brundage, who strongly voiced his criticism of the IIHF decision to professionalise the sport. Brundage warned that the IOC would take the same stand in the case of ice hockey as they did with football, which was that none of the participants who had taken part in the FIFA World Cup, which was open to professionals, were eligible to the Olympic Games. Later, at an IOC meeting in Amsterdam, the Netherlands on 10 May 1970, Brundage urged the international sports federations to withdraw ice hockey, along with Alpine skiing, soccer and basketball, from the Olympic Games. However, Brundage's threats when the IOC vice president Lord Killanin declared that the IIHF's compromise agreement to sufficiently secure the amateur nature of t and the majority of the IOC decided to keep ice hockey and Alpine skiing on the program for the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo.

The IIHF, on the other hand, continued making a stand against Brundage. At the 54th IIHF Congress in Stockholm, Sweden on 13–29 March 1970, other changes to the world championships were announced. The IIHF would cease running world championship in Olympic years. A playoff format was also introduced at the A pool.

As the Soviets were looking for a new challenge in ice hockey and ready to play against Canadian professionals, they agreed to the terms. As a result, the tournament would be the first true best-on-best world championship in hockey history as it allowed any player to represent their team regardless of amateur or professional status.

Qualified teams

The seven teams of the 1969 was automatically qualified for the tournament, along with the 1969 Pool B winner West Germany were also qualified for the 1970 Pool A tournament.

Date Vacancies Qualified
Host N/A 1 Canada Canada
Ranked 1−7 at the
1969 IIHF World Championship
15 – 30 March 1969 6 Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia
Finland Finland
Flag of East Germany.svg East Germany
Soviet Union Soviet Union
Sweden Sweden
United States United States
Promoted from the
1969 IIHF World Championship Pool B
28 February – 9 March 1969 1 Germany West Germany
Total 8

Preliminary round

Team GP W T L GF GA GD Pts Qualification or relegation
Canada Canada 7 7 0 0 46 12 +34 14 Advances to the quarter finals
Soviet Union Soviet Union 7 6 0 1 46 14 +32 12
Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia 7 4 1 2 39 18 +21 9
Sweden Sweden 7 4 0 3 30 21 +9 8
United States United States 7 3 1 3 23 26 –3 7
Finland Finland 7 2 0 5 23 47 –24 4
Norway Norway 7 1 0 6 20 53 –33 2
Germany West Germany 7 0 0 7 16 52 –36 0 Relegation to Pool B

21 August 1970
12:00
Soviet Union Soviet Union 2 – 1
Sweden Sweden Montreal Forum, Montreal

21 August 1970
16:00
Finland Finland 7 – 5
Germany West Germany Montreal Forum, Montreal

21 August 1970
19:00
Canada Canada 3 – 2
(0–0, 1–0, 2–2)
Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia Montreal Forum, Montreal


22 August 1970
12:00
Norway Norway 4 – 6
(0–3, 1–1, 2–2)
United States United States Montreal Forum, Montreal

22 August 1970
16:00
Sweden Sweden 6 – 2
(0–1, 2–1, 1–2)
Germany West Germany Montreal Forum, Montreal

22 August 1970
19:00
Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia 3 – 4
(1–1, 2–1, 0–2)
Soviet Union Soviet Union Montreal Forum, Montreal


23 August 1970
16:00
Norway Norway 3 – 5
(–, –, –)
Finland Finland Montreal Forum, Montreal

23 August 1970
19:00
Canada Canada 4 – 2
(–, –, –)
United States United States Montreal Forum, Montreal


24 August 1970
16:00
Soviet Union Soviet Union 10 – 3
(–, –, –)
Finland Finland Montreal Forum, Montreal

24 August 1970
19:00
Canada Canada 11 – 3
(–, –, –)
Norway Norway Montreal Forum, Montreal


25 August 1970
16:00
United States United States 0 – 5
(–, –, –)
Soviet Union Soviet Union Montreal Forum, Montreal

25 August 1970
19:00
Sweden Sweden 1 – 4
(–, –, –)
Canada Canada Montreal Forum, Montreal


26 August 1970
16:00
West Germany Germany 3 – 4
(–, –, –)
Norway Norway Winnipeg Arena, Winnipeg

26 August 1970
19:00
Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia 8 – 0
(–, –, –)
Finland Finland Winnipeg Arena, Winnipeg


27 August 1970
12:00
Canada Canada 11 – 2
(–, –, –)
Finland Finland Winnipeg Arena, Winnipeg

27 August 1970
16:00
Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia 9 – 1
(–, –, –)
Germany West Germany Winnipeg Arena, Winnipeg

27 August 1970
19:00
Soviet Union Soviet Union 13 – 2
(–, –, –)
Norway Norway Winnipeg Arena, Winnipeg


28 August 1970
16:00
Sweden Sweden 5 – 2
(–, –, –)
United States United States Winnipeg Arena, Winnipeg

28 August 1970
19:00
Soviet Union Soviet Union 11 – 2
(–, –, –)
Germany West Germany Winnipeg Arena, Winnipeg


29 August 1970
16:00
Finland Finland 4 – 6
(2–3, 1–2, 1–1)
Sweden Sweden Winnipeg Arena, Winnipeg

29 August 1970
19:00
Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia 4 – 4
(2–1, 2–1, 0–2)
United States United States Winnipeg Arena, Winnipeg


30 August 1970
16:00
West Germany Germany 1 – 10
(–, –, –)
Canada Canada Winnipeg Arena, Winnipeg

30 August 1970
19:00
Norway Norway 2 – 8
(–, –, –)
Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia Winnipeg Arena, Winnipeg


31 August 1970
12:00
United States United States 4 – 2
(–, –, –)
Finland Finland Winnipeg Arena, Winnipeg

31 August 1970
16:00
Sweden Sweden 7 – 2
(–, –, –)
Norway Norway Winnipeg Arena, Winnipeg

31 August 1970
19:00
Canada Canada 3 – 1
(–, –, –)
Soviet Union Soviet Union Winnipeg Arena, Winnipeg

Playoff round

  Semifinal                    
  1  Canada Canada 3  
  3  Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia 2   Final
      1  Canada Canada 1
  Semifinal   2  Soviet Union Soviet Union 3
  2  Soviet Union Soviet Union 4
  4  Sweden Sweden 1   Bronze Medal Game
    3  Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia 5
    4  Sweden Sweden 3

Semifinals


2 September 1970
19:00
Soviet Union Soviet Union 4 – 1
(2–1, 0–0, 2–0)
Sweden Sweden Montreal Forum, Montreal
Attendance: 16,485

3 September 1970
19:00
Finland Canada 1 – 0
(0–0, 0–0, 1–0)
Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia Montreal Forum, Montreal
Attendance: 17,346

Bronze medal game


5 September 1970
19:00
Bronze medal blank Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia 5 – 3
(2–0, 2–2, 1–1)
Sweden Sweden Montreal Forum, Montreal
Attendance: 14,215

Gold medal game


6 September 1970
19:30
Silver medal blank Canada Canada 4 – 6
(2–1, 1–3, 0–2)
Soviet Union Soviet Union Gold medal blank Montreal Forum, Montreal
Attendance: 18,040

Final ranking

The official IIHF final ranking of the tournament:

Gold medal blank Soviet Union Soviet Union
Silver medal blank Canada Canada
Bronze medal blank Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia
4 Sweden Sweden
5 United States United States
6 Finland Finland
7 Flag of East Germany.svg East Germany
8 Flag of Poland (1928-1980).svg Poland

1970 IIHF World Champions
Flag of the Soviet Union (1955-1980)
Soviet Union
9th title

Statistics

Scoring leaders

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
7 0 0 0 0
7 0 0 0 0
7 0 0 0 0
7 0 0 0 0
7 0 0 0 0
7 0 0 0 0
7 0 0 0 0
7 0 0 0 0
7 0 0 0 0
7 0 0 0 0

Goaltending leaders

Awards

Directorate awards

Best players selected by the IIHF directorate:

Best Goaltender Best Defenceman Best Forward
Soviet Union Vladislav Tretiak (Soviet Union) Canada Bobby Orr (Canada) Canada Phil Esposito (Canada)

All-Star team

The tournament All-Star team voted by the media:

Goaltender Defencemen Forwards Tournament MVP
Soviet Union Vladislav Tretiak (Soviet Union) Canada Bobby Orr (Canada)
Czechoslovakia Jan Suchý (Czechoslovakia)
Soviet Union Anatoli Firsov (Soviet Union)
Canada Phil Esposito (Canada)
Soviet Union Alexander Maltsev (Soviet Union)
Canada Phil Esposito (Canada)

Team MVPs

Team Player
Canada Canada Phil Esposito
Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia Václav Nedomanský
Finland Finland Urpo Ylönen
Flag of East Germany.svg East Germany
Germany West Germany Anton Kehle
Soviet Union Soviet Union Alexander Maltsev
Sweden Sweden Lennart Svedberg
United States United States Tom Williams

See also