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IIHF World Championships (WFAC)

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The Ice Hockey World Championships are an annual men's ice hockey tournament organized by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). First officially held at the 1920 Summer Olympics, it is the sport's highest profile annual international tournament. The IIHF was created in 1908 while the European Championships, the precursor to the World Championships, were first held in 1910. The tournament held at the 1920 Summer Olympics is recognized as the first Ice Hockey World Championship. Between 1920 and 1968, the Olympic hockey tournament was also considered the World Championship for that year. The first World Championship that was held as an individual event was in 1930 in which twelve nations participated. In 1931, ten teams played a series of round-robin format qualifying rounds to determine which nations participated in the medal round. Medals were awarded based on the final standings of the teams in the medal round. This basic format would be used until 1992 (although small variations were made). In 1951, thirteen nations took part and were split into two groups. The top seven teams (Pool A) played for the World Championship. The other six (Pool B) played for ranking purposes. During a congress in 1990, the IIHF introduced a playoff system. As the IIHF grew, more teams began to participate at the World Championships, so more pools (later renamed divisions) were introduced.

The modern format for the World Championship features 16 teams in the championship 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 teams in the championship play a preliminary round, then the top eight teams play in the playoff medal round and the winning team is crowned World Champion. Over the years, the tournament has gone through several rule changes. In 1969 body-checking in all three zones in a rink was allowed, helmets and goaltender masks became mandatory in the early 1970s and in 1992 the IIHF began using the shootout. The current IIHF rules differ slightly from the rules used in the NHL. The World Championships have been open to all players, both professional and amateur, since 1977. The IIHF requires that players are citizens of the country they represent and allow players to switch national teams provided that they play in their new nation for a certain period of time.

Canada was the tournament's first dominant team, winning the tournament 12 times between 1930 and 1952. The United States, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, Great Britain and Switzerland were also competitive during this period. Czechoslovakia became the first European country to win the tournament, doing so in 1947, 1949 and 1950. The Soviet Union first participated in 1954 and soon became rivals with Canada. From 1963 until 1993, the Soviet Union was the dominant team, winning 20 championships. During that period, only three other nations won medals: Canada, Czechoslovakia and Sweden. During Czechoslovakia's "Golden Era" in the late 1990's and early 2000's, they won five gold medals (1996, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002) as well as an Olympic gold medal in 1998. In the 2000s, the competition became more open as the "Big Six" teams – Canada, Czechoslovakia, Finland, the Soviet Union, Sweden, and the United States – as well as Switzerland and Norway became more evenly matched. As this tournament takes place during the same time period as the NHL's Stanley Cup playoffs, many of the best players do not participate, and it is considered secondary in importance among North American fans and players to the Stanley Cup.

The 78th World Championship was held in Prague and Bratislava in Czechoslovakia, and was the most successful to date in terms of overall attendance. In the final, Canada defeated the Soviet Union to win their twenty-second title.

Medal winners

1920–1969

Year Host Gold medal blank Gold Silver medal blank Silver Bronze medal blank Bronze Fourth place
1920
Olympic Rings
Belgium Belgium
(Antwerp)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada (1)
US flag 48 stars.svg
United States (1)
Flag of Czechoslovakia.svg
Czechoslovakia (1)
Flag of Sweden.svg
Sweden
1924
Olympic Rings
France France
(Chamonix)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada (2)
US flag 48 stars.svg
United States (2)
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
Great Britain (1)
Flag of Sweden.svg
Sweden
1928
Olympic Rings
Switzerland Switzerland
(St. Moritz)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada (3)
Flag of Sweden.svg
Sweden (1)
Flag of Switzerland.svg
Switzerland (1)
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
Great Britain
1930 Flag of France France
Flag of Germany Germany
Flag of Austria Austria
(Chamonix, Berlin and Vienna)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada (4)
Flag of Germany
Germany (1)
Flag of Switzerland
Switzerland (2)
Flag of Austria
Austria
1931 Flag of Poland.svg Poland
(Krynica)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada (5)
US flag 48 stars.svg
United States (3)
Flag of Austria
Austria (1)
Flag of Poland
Poland
1932
Olympic Rings
US flag 48 stars.svg United States
(Lake Placid)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada (6)
US flag 48 stars.svg
United States (4)
Flag of Germany
Germany (1)
Flag of Poland
Poland
1933 Flag of Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia
(Prague)
US flag 48 stars.svg
United States (1)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada (1)
Flag of Czechoslovakia.svg
Czechoslovakia (2)
Flag of Austria
Austria
1934 Kingdom of Italy Italy
(Milan)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada (7)
US flag 48 stars.svg
United States (5)
Flag of the German Empire.svg
Germany (2)
Flag of Switzerland
Switzerland
1935 Switzerland Switzerland
(Davos)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada (8)
Flag of Switzerland
Switzerland (1)
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
Great Britain (2)
Flag of Czechoslovakia.svg
Czechoslovakia
1936
Olympic Rings
Nazi Germany Germany
(Garmisch-Partenkirchen)
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
Great Britain (1)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada (2)
US flag 48 stars.svg
United States (1)
Flag of Czechoslovakia.svg
Czechoslovakia
1937 United Kingdom Great Britain
(London)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada (9)
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
Great Britain (1)
Flag of Switzerland
Switzerland (3)
Flag of German Reich (1935–1945).svg
Germany
1938 Flag of Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia
(Prague)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada (10)
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
Great Britain (2)
Flag of Czechoslovakia.svg
Czechoslovakia (3)
Flag of German Reich (1935–1945).svg
Germany
No tournaments were held between 1939 and 1946 due to the outbreak of World War II (1938–1945).
1947 Flag of Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia
(Prague)
Flag of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia (1)
Flag of Sweden
Sweden (2)
Flag of Austria
Austria (2)
Flag of Switzerland
Switzerland
1948
Olympic Rings
Flag of Switzerland (Pantone) Switzerland
(St. Moritz)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada (11)
Flag of Czechoslovakia.svg
Czechoslovakia (1)
Flag of Switzerland.svg
Switzerland (4)
Flag of Sweden
Sweden
1949 Flag of Sweden Sweden
(Stockholm)
Flag of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia (2)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada (3)
US flag 48 stars.svg
United States (2)
Flag of Sweden
Sweden
1950 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Great Britain
(London)
Flag of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia (3)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada (4)
US flag 48 stars.svg
United States (3)
Flag of Switzerland
Switzerland
1951 Flag of France France
(Paris)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada (12)
Flag of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia (2)
Flag of Sweden
Sweden (1)
Flag of Switzerland
Switzerland
1952
Olympic Rings
Flag of Norway Norway
(Oslo)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada (13)
US flag 48 stars.svg
United States (6)
Flag of Czechoslovakia.svg
Czechoslovakia (5)
Flag of Sweden
Sweden
1953 Flag of Switzerland (Pantone) Switzerland
(Basel and Zurich)
Flag of Sweden
Sweden (1)
Flag of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia (2)
Flag of Germany
West Germany (2)
Flag of Switzerland
Switzerland
1954 Flag of Sweden Sweden
(Stockholm)
Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union (1)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada (5)
Flag of Sweden
Sweden (2)
Flag of Czechoslovakia.svg
Czechoslovakia
1955 Flag of Sweden Sweden
(Stockholm)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada (14)
Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union (1)
Flag of Czechoslovakia.svg
Czechoslovakia (6)
US flag 48 stars.svg
United States
1956
Olympic Rings
Flag of Italy.svg Italy
(Cortina d'Ampezzo)
Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union (2)
Flag of Czechoslovakia.svg
Czechoslovakia (3)
US flag 48 stars.svg
United States (4)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada
1957 Flag of the Soviet Union Soviet Union
(Moscow)
Flag of Sweden
Sweden (2)
Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union (2)
Flag of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia (7)
Flag of Finland
Finland
1958 Flag of Norway Norway
(Oslo)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada (15)
Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union (3)
Flag of Sweden
Sweden (3)
Flag of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
1959 Flag of Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia
(Prague and Bratislava)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada (16)
Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union (4)
Flag of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia (8)
US flag 48 stars.svg
United States
1960
Olympic Rings
Flag of the United States United States
(Squaw Valley)
Flag of the United States.svg
United States (2)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada (6)
Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union (1)
Flag of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
1961 Flag of Switzerland (Pantone) Switzerland
(Geneva and Lausanne)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada (17)
Flag of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia (4)
Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union (2)
Flag of Sweden
Sweden
1962 Flag of the United States United States
(Colorado Springs and Denver)
Flag of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia (4)
Flag of Sweden
Sweden (3)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada (1)
Flag of the United States.svg
United States
1963 Flag of Sweden Sweden
(Stockholm)
Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union (3)
Flag of Sweden
Sweden (4)
Flag of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia (9)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada
1964
Olympic Rings
Flag of Austria Austria
(Innsbruck)
Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union (4)
Flag of Sweden
Sweden (5)
Flag of Czechoslovakia.svg
Czechoslovakia (10)
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg
Canada
1965 Flag of Finland Finland
(Tampere)
Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union (5)
Flag of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia (6)
Flag of Sweden
Sweden (4)
Flag of Canada
Canada
1966 Flag of SFR Yugoslavia.svg Yugoslavia
(Ljubljana)
Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union (6)
Flag of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia (7)
Flag of Canada
Canada (2)
Flag of Sweden
Sweden
1967 Flag of Austria Austria
(Vienna)
Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union (7)
Flag of Sweden
Sweden (6)
Flag of Canada
Canada (3)
Flag of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
1968
Olympic Rings
France France
(Grenoble)
Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union (8)
Flag of Czechoslovakia.svg
Czechoslovakia (8)
Flag of Canada
Canada (4)
Flag of Sweden
Sweden
1969 Flag of Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia
(Prague)
Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union (9)
Flag of Sweden
Sweden (7)
Flag of Czechoslovakia.svg
Czechoslovakia (11)
Flag of Canada
Canada

1970 to present

Year Host Gold medal game Bronze medal game
Gold medal blank Gold Score Silver medal blank Silver Bronze medal blank Bronze Score Fourth place
1970 Flag of Canada Canada
(Montreal and Winnipeg)
Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union (10)
6 – 4 Flag of Canada
Canada (7)
Flag of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia (12)
5 – 3 Flag of Sweden
Sweden
1974 Flag of Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia
(Prague)
Flag of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia (5)
3 – 2 Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union (5)
Flag of Sweden
Sweden (6)
4 – 3 Flag of Canada
Canada
1978 Flag of Sweden Sweden
(Stockholm)
Flag of Canada
Canada (18)
5 – 4 OT Flag of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia (9)
Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union (3)
5 – 3 Flag of Sweden
Sweden
1982 Flag of the Soviet Union Soviet Union
(Moscow)
Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union (11)
8 – 1 Flag of Canada
Canada (8)
Flag of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia (13)
4 – 2 Flag of Sweden
Sweden
1986 Flag of Canada Canada
(Montreal and Toronto)
Flag of Canada
Canada (19)
Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union (6)
Flag of Sweden
Sweden (7)
Flag of Finland
Finland
1990 Flag of Sweden Sweden
(Stockholm and Södertälje)
Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union (12)
Flag of Sweden
Sweden (8)
Flag of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia (14)
Flag of Canada
Canada
1993 Flag of Switzerland (Pantone) Switzerland
(Bern and Fribourg)
Flag of Sweden
Sweden (3)
Flag of Finland
Finland (1)
Flag of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia (15)
Flag of Canada
Canada
1996 Flag of Finland Finland
(Helsinki and Turku)
Flag of the United States
United States (3)
4 – 3 Flag of Canada
Canada (9)
Flag of Finland
Finland (2)
3 – 1 Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
2000 Flag of Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia
(Prague and Bratislava)
Flag of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia (6)
3 – 2 OT Flag of Sweden
Sweden (9)
Flag of Switzerland
Switzerland (5)
5 – 2 Flag of Finland
Finland
2004 Flag of the Soviet Union Soviet Union
(Moscow and Leningrad)
Flag of Canada
Canada (20)
3 – 2 Flag of Finland
Finland (2)
Flag of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia (16)
1 – 0 GWS Flag of the United States
United States
2008 Flag of Canada Canada
(Quebec and Halifax)
Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union (13)
5 – 4 OT Flag of Canada
Canada (10)
Flag of Finland
Finland (3)
4 – 0 Flag of Sweden
Sweden
2012 Flag of Sweden Sweden
(Stockholm and Gothenburg)
Flag of Sweden
Sweden (4)
3 – 1 Flag of Finland
Finland (3)
Flag of Norway
Norway (1)
4 – 3 OT Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
2016 Flag of Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia
(Prague and Bratislava)
Flag of Canada
Canada (20)
2 – 1 Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union (7)
Flag of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia (17)
3 – 2 Flag of Finland
Finland
2020 Flag of Canada Canada
(Montreal and Toronto)

Medal table

Country Gold Silver Bronze Medals
Canada Canada 20 10 4 34
Soviet Union Soviet Union 13 6 3 22
Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia 6 10 13 29
Sweden Sweden 4 9 7 20
United States United States 3 6 4 13
United Kingdom Great Britain 1 2 2 5
Finland Finland 0 2 4 6
Switzerland Switzerland 0 1 5 6
Germany Germany
Germany West Germany
 
0
0
0
1
0
2
1
1
1
1
2
3
Austria Austria 0 0 2 2
Norway Norway 0 0 1 1

See also

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