Historical Facts on the Ice Hockey World Championships

The International Ice Hockey Federation holds the Ice Hockey World Championships as an annual event. Between 1910 and 1932, the European Championship preceded the IIHF championship and the first world tournament was considered in 1920 during the Summer Olympics.

Initially, Ice hockey was majorly featured in the Winter Olympics. A decision to have the world championships came when the two events happened concurrently. The first solo championship thus took place in 1930 after the first three were contested at the Olympics.

Championships across the years

Between 1920 and 1976, National Hockey League players were not allowed to participate in these championships. It was mainly an arena for amateur athletes. However, in 1970, a disagreement arose over the meaning of amateur players, causing Canada to withdraw from the games. Seven years later, NHL players were finally allowed to play in the world championships which made Canada re-enter the games.

Counting until 2010, 74 games of the championships had taken place. Between 1920 and 1930, the Winter Olympics was the only world ice hockey championship. 1940 to 1946 were dormant years for these games because of the World War II. Also, the championships did not take place in 1980, 1984 and 1988, which were Olympic years.

Medal count

14 countries have had the privilege to win medals at the championships with ten winning gold. Canada has the most medals including 24 of the 45 gold medals. Sweden was the first-ever nation in history to win an Olympic gold and a separate world championship gold in one season.

The Federal Republic of Germany has the least number of medals at one medal. However, if it were to be combined with Germany, the total goes to four which takes it to the third-lowest number of medals. This also makes Austria come last with two medals. IIHF World Championship games have since become the most popular ice hockey tournament apart from the Olympics.