The IIHF Annual Congress today was held on the off day at the 2017 World Championships in Cologne, Germany, with a number of major announcements voted on to impact the future of international hockey in the coming years.
Among the major decisions made were:
- The IIHF Women’s World Championships, effective the 2019 tournament in Finland (as there will be no 2018 tournament due to the Olympics), will expand from eight teams to ten for the first time in tournament history. This means that for 2019, Germany will move up to Group A, while previously-demoted Czechia returns to Group B, along with newly-promoted Japan. The winner of Division IA (Austria, Denmark, France, Hungary, Norway or Slovakia) in 2018 will be the fifth team to join Group B in the Top Division for 2019.
- The 2021 World Championships were awarded to the joint bid from Belarus and Latvia, to be held in their respective capital cities of Minsk and Rīga; this marks each city’s second time hosting, after running the 2014 and 2006 tournaments solo, respectively. The losing bid for 2021, from the Finnish cities of Helsinki and Tampere, will now host the 2022 tournament instead.
- The full calendar of 2018 tournaments was announced, with hosting duties for men’s tournaments going to Denmark (for the Top Division), Hungary, Lithuania, Netherlands, Spain, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, while the women’s tournaments will be held in France, Italy, Slovenia, Spain and Bulgaria.
In addition, the previously announced IIHF Hall of Fame class for 2017 will be formally inducted, with the previously announced Teemu Selänne, Saku Koivu, Joe Sakic, Uwe Krupp and Angela Ruggiero in Cologne to join the prestigious hall. Our congratulations go out to all of these immensely talented superstars!
All in all, a very exciting week of hockey just got a new boost of excitement for the future of international hockey!