IHLC 2016 In Review – Men’s

m-2016inreview
The International Hockey Lineal Championship doubled up on champions in 2016,ย with six different nations taking hold of the IHLC over a span of 23 games, leaving an unlikely countryย the incumbent champion heading into 2017.

As Canada did not participate in any tournaments before the 2016 Worlds, they cruised into Russia with the title, winning seven straightย before dropping their Group finale to a surprising Finnish squad. Finland would then carry the IHLC ย through the knockout round, eliminating Denmark and Russia before Canada wrenched the title back with a 2-0 win in the Gold Medal Game, capturing their 26th Gold Medal (and second straight).

Thanks to the revived World Cup of Hockey, however, Canada did not have all year to sit on the title, as they were back in action by September, dropping their first exhibition tilt to their American rivals. Canada would regain the IHLC in their next matchup with the U.S., and cruise through the tournament undefeated, with wins over Russia, Czechia and the Americans. The IHLC, however, came to a sudden halt in Toronto after the Canadians’ win over Russia in the Semifinals, as the other semifinal saw Team Europe (not an official international team) upset Sweden, meaning the IHLC would be shelved for the Finals.

Canada’s return to the Deutschland Cup after a year’s absence meant the IHLC would be headed back to Europe, with Canada winning an exhibition match over Hungary and their opening Cup game over Switzerland with a drastically different roster. However, Canada’s lack of star power gave Slovakia the chance to win their first IHLC in four years,ย which they would bring to the Swiss Challenge the following month. The Slovaks fell to a 7-1 thrashing at the hands of Belarus to open the tournament, who then were similarly thrashed 6-1 by their Swiss hosts, marking the final IHLC meeting of 2016.

The following games were contested over the men’s IHLC in 2016 (click for game recaps and boxscores):
1616.ย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ CAN 3-0 CZE ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ โ€“ 03 May 2016 โ€“ EX โ€“ Prague ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ
1617.ย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ CAN 5-1 USA ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ โ€“ 06 May 2016 โ€“ WC โ€“ Saint Petersburg ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ
1618.ย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ CAN 7-1 HUN ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡บ โ€“ 08 May 2016 โ€“ WC โ€“ Saint Petersburg ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ
1619.ย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ CAN 8-0 BLR ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡พ โ€“ 09 May 2016 โ€“ WC โ€“ Saint Petersburg ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ
1620.ย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ CAN 5-2 GER ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช โ€“ 12 May 2016 โ€“ WC โ€“ Saint Petersburg ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ
1621.ย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ CAN 5-0 SVK ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฐ โ€“ 14 May 2016 โ€“ WC โ€“ Saint Petersburg ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ
1622.ย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ CAN 4-0 FRA ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท โ€“ 16 May 2016 โ€“ WC โ€“ Saint Petersburg ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ
1623.ย ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ FIN 4-0 CAN ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ โ€“ 17 May 2016 โ€“ WC โ€“ Saint Petersburg ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ
1624.ย ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ FIN 5-1 DEN ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ โ€“ 19 May 2016 โ€“ WC โ€“ Saint Petersburg ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ
1625.ย ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ FIN 3-1 RUS ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ โ€“ 21 May 2016 โ€“ WC โ€“ Moscow ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ
1626.ย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆย CAN 2-0 FIN ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ โ€“ 22 May 2016 โ€“ WC โ€“ Moscow ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บย  ๐Ÿ…
1627.ย ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธย USA 4-2 CAN ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ โ€“ 09 Sep 2016 โ€“ EX โ€“ Columbus ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ
1628.ย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆย CAN 5-2 USA ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ โ€“ 10 Sep 2016 โ€“ EX โ€“ Ottawa ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ
1629.ย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ CAN 3-2ย RUS ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ (OT) โ€“ 14 Sep 2016 โ€“ EX โ€“ Pittsburgh ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ
1630.ย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆย CAN 6-0ย CZE ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ โ€“ 17 Sep 2016 โ€“ WCH โ€“ Toronto ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ
1631.ย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆย CAN 4-2 USA ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ โ€“ 20 Sep 2016 โ€“ WCH โ€“ Toronto ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ
1632.ย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆย CAN 5-3 RUS ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ โ€“ 24 Sep 2016 โ€“ WCH โ€“ Toronto ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ
1633.ย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆย CAN 5-1 HUN ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡บย โ€“ 01 Nov 2016 โ€“ EX โ€“ Budapest ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡บ
1634.ย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆย CAN 3-0 SUI ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ โ€“ 04 Nov 2016 โ€“ DC โ€“ Augsburg ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช
1635.ย ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฐย SVK 4-3 CAN ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ (SO) โ€“ 05 Nov 2016 โ€“ DC โ€“ Augsburg ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช
1636.ย ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฐย SVK 4-1 SUI ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ โ€“ 06 Nov 2016 โ€“ DC โ€“ Augsburg ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช
1637.ย ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡พย BLR 7-1 SVK ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฐ โ€“ 16 Dec 2016 โ€“ SWC โ€“ Biel ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ
1638.ย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญย SUI 6-1 BLR ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡พ โ€“ 17 Dec 2016 โ€“ SWC โ€“ Bielย  ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ

The IHLC Rankings for 2016 were as follows (total all-time wins and rankings in parentheses):
01. ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆย CANADA – 15ย wins (313, 2nd)
02.ย ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ FINLAND – 3 wins (105, 5th)
03.ย ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฐ SLOVAKIA – 2 wins (45, 8th)
T4.ย ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ SWITZERLAND – 1 win (52, 7th)
T4.ย ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ UNITED STATES – 1 win (61, 6th)
T4.ย ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡พย BELARUS – 1 win (6, 13th)

Switzerland now begins 2017 as the IHLC champions, guaranteeing that unlike 2016, the title will partake in the Euro Hockey Challenge – however, which path that takes is set to be determined at February’s Slovakia Cup, where Switzerland faces Belarus in a rematch of the last IHLC game of 2016. The possible pathways for the IHLC to take from there are numerous, with multiple potential contenders between April and the start of the 2017 Worlds in Paris and Cologne. Whether a European club can maintain, or if Canada will manage to three-peat (and pull themselves closer to Russia in the all-timeย IHLC Rankings) remains to be seen.

Photo Credit: IIHF Worlds 2016ย โ€“ IIHF โ€“ HHOF โ€“ IOC

Discuss!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.