Ice Hockey World Championships
The Ice Hockey World Championship is an annual event organized by the International Ice Hockey Federation. It was preceded by the European Championship which was held from 1910 to 1932.
The playing format
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 group 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.
Top Ice hockey nations
In the early days of the Championship, the teams from Canada dominated. Between 1930 and 1939, Canadian teams won the tournament eight times. But from 1950 onwards, the Championship became increasingly competitive, as USSR joined them, and the teams from Czechoslovakia and Sweden improved their skill level.