🇺🇸 UNITED STATES (USA) Men’s National Ice Hockey Team (1920-)
62 wins, 30 reigns, 70 games with IHLC – ranked 7th
IHLC last held 19 May 2018
One of the original contenders for the IHLC, the United States has provided some of the most shocking upsets and wildest games in IHLC history, including the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, the 1960 Olympic “Forgotten Miracle,” and of course, the legendary 1980 Miracle On Ice. Team USA has been a rare consistent IHLC force in the 100+ years of the title, regularly putting forth competitive teams, and holding nearly thirty IHLC titles to show for it since their first win in 1933. However, the Americans have failed to win a major tournament since the 1996 World Cup, and have struggled in recent years to finish back on top of the hockey world.
🇩🇪 GERMANY (GER) Women’s National Ice Hockey Team (1991-)
played as WEST GERMANY (FRG), 1988-90
First competing as West Germany at the inaugural World Championship in 1990, the German women’s team has so far been unable to capture the IHLC in nine attempts – however, they are continuing to improve, competing for the IHLC as recently as 2009, and finishing as good as fifth in both their latest World Championship (2013) and Olympic Games (2006).
🇰🇿 KAZAKHSTAN (KAZ) Women’s National Ice Hockey Team (1995-)
While the Kazakh women’s team has emerged as one of the top women’s teams in Asia, they have competed just once for the IHLC in 2005, being crushed 13-0 by Canada. Now playing in Division I, they will surely be pushing hard to compete again on the championship stage.
🇮🇹 ITALY (ITA) Women’s National Ice Hockey Team (1993-)
Italy only emerged in the IHLC landscape as hosts of the 2006 Olympics in Turin, narrowly missing a chance to play for the IHLC after the title left their group before the Games began. While they have yet to compete for it, look for the Gia Azzuri to continue climbing up the women’s ranks in years to come.
🇷🇺 RUSSIA (RUS) Men’s National Ice Hockey Team (1992-)
played as SOVIET UNION (URS), 1951-91
played at Olympics as UNIFIED TEAM (EUN), 1992; OLYMPIC ATHLETES FROM RUSSIA (OAR), 2018; RUSSIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (ROC), 2022
played at World Championships as RUSSIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (ROC), 2021-22
470 wins, 74 reigns, 514 games with IHLC – ranked 1st
IHLC last held 30 April 2021
For the all-time leader in men’s IHLC victories, it is remarkable that the Russian team, first playing as the Soviet Union, did not compete for the IHLC until 1954, 49 years after the championship was established. But The Red Machine dominated international hockey for nearly four decades, setting records for IHLC wins, games played, and undefeated streaks, only occasionally being dethroned by the likes of spoilers played by Canada, the United States or Czechoslovakia. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Russian team that emerged has still played among the best of the IHLC, capturing dozens of IHLC titles since 1991.
🇧🇾 BELARUS (BLR) Men’s National Ice Hockey Team (1992-)
6 wins, 5 reigns, 6 games with IHLC – ranked 13th
IHLC last held 17 December 2016
Belarus entered the world stage in 1992, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, needing five years to reach the Top Division of the World Championship. Six years following their creation, they first competed for the IHLC at the 1998 Nagano Olympics. The Bisons would win only their second ever IHLC game in one of the biggest international hockey upsets in history, knocking Sweden from the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. Since then, Belarus has won the IHLC a handful of times, and hosted their first major tournament with the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Minsk.
🇨🇳 CHINA (CHN) Men’s National Ice Hockey Team (1972-)
An emerging hockey nation just by virtue of its sheer size, the Chinese men’s team will look to replicate the success of the women’s size before the 2022 Olympics in Beijing. With the world watching, China will look to make their first Olympic appearance a success, potentially racking up a few wins (and an IHLC title) in Beijing.
🇫🇮 FINLAND (FIN) Women’s National Ice Hockey Team (1988-)
4 wins, 4 reigns, 4 games with IHLC – ranked 4th
IHLC last held 09 November 2011
The Finnish squad has been on the world stage since the beginning of international women’s hockey, first competing at the 1990 World Championship. While the Finns are one of the five nations to ever hold the women’s IHLC, and are a mainstay of the annual Four Nations Cup, they have only won four IHLC games, holding the title for a single game in each reign. However, with women’s hockey getting more competitive every day, look for the Naisleijonat to become a more dominant player on the world stage.
🇵🇱 POLAND (POL) Men’s Junior National Ice Hockey Team (1976-)
Poland was a participant at the first World Junior Championship in 1977 (finishing last), playing in the Top Division five more times before being relegated in 1997. Since then they have remained largely in Division I (despite a few drops to Division II), looking to crawl back up into the higher echelons of the tournament.
🇯🇵 JAPAN (JPN) Women’s National Ice Hockey Team (1987-)
Japan played at the inaugural Women’s World Tournament in 1987, losing their first IHLC game to Canada 11-0, but has remained consistent as an IHLC contender, competing against the U.S., Canada and China in the 1995 and 1996 Pacific Rim Championships, and a handful of World Championship appearances. They finished sixth on home ice at the 1998 Olympics, and last played for the IHLC at the 2019 World Championship.
🇮🇹 ITALY (ITA) Men’s National Ice Hockey Team (1924-)
1 win, 1 reign, 1 game with IHLC – ranked 22nd
IHLC last held 13 May 2014
A surprising new force on the international hockey front, Italy stunned the hockey world by upsetting France (and winning their first IHLC) at the 2014 World Championship, 90 years after the Azzurri established a hockey team, and 80 years after their first IHLC tilt versus Switzerland. While Italy has always been a competitor towards the bottom of the Championship group on the world stage, Italy is now emerging as a more serious threat after an embarrassing performance as host at the 2006 Olympics in Turin.
🇨🇦 CANADA (CAN) Women’s National Ice Hockey Team (1987-)
225 wins, 37 reigns, 230 games with IHLC – ranked 1st
IHLC last held 05 February 2020
Canada’s women’s team, like their male counterparts, have largely dominated women’s hockey in its infancy, leading international squads in the number of World Championship (10) and Olympic (4) Gold Medals, in addition to being the all-time leader in IHLC wins, reigns, games and days as champion. Ever since kicking off the 1987 Women’s World Tournament, Canada has been nearly unstoppable, only in recent years being matched by their American counterparts, leading to some ultra-competitive instant classic tilts against Team USA, along with interesting games against emerging nations like Sweden and Switzerland.
🇬🇧 GREAT BRITAIN (GBR) Men’s National Ice Hockey Team (1906-)
27 wins, 5 reigns, 30 games with IHLC – ranked 10th
IHLC last held 20 March 1950
One of the original contenders of the International Hockey Lineal Championship, Great Britain won the third ever IHLC from France in their first tilt in 1907. The Lions were a major competitor in the pre-war era, shocking the world with a Gold medal at the 1936 Olympics, followed up with back-to-back World Championship in 1937 and 1938, respectively. However, the outbreak of World War II put a damper on the team, as they fell out of contention shortly after the war, have not held the IHLC since 1950, and have only qualified for the Top Division five times since 1951 (1962, 1994, 2019, 2021-22).
🇸🇪 SWEDEN (SWE) Women’s National Ice Hockey Team (1987-)
10 wins, 4 reigns, 10 games with IHLC – ranked 3rd
IHLC last held 03 September 2011
Emerging as one of the “big four” women’s hockey nations since the Women’s World Tournament in 1987, Sweden is also one of the only four nations (along with Canada, Finland and the United States) to win the IHLC, winning their first title in dramatic fashion from the U.S. to qualify for the 2006 Olympic Gold Medal Game, giving the Damkronorna the distinction of being the only other team besides Canada and the U.S. to play for Olympic gold. Sweden will be looking to improve their number of IHLC wins, and be the first European team to capture World Championship or Olympic gold.
🇩🇰 DENMARK (DEN) Women’s National Ice Hockey Team (1987-)
The women’s Lions first and only IHLC game came during their lone World Championship appearance back in 1992, being handed a 10-0 loss from Canada. Since then, Denmark was relegated all the way down to Division IB, only recently clawing their way back into IA, and finally back into the Top Division in 2021.
🇳🇱 NETHERLANDS (NED) Men’s National Ice Hockey Team (1935-)
The Netherlands squad has been a rare sighting in the history of the International Hockey Lineal Championship, intermittently playing for the title since 1939. However, the Oranje failed to truly compete in these games, losing all nine of their IHLC games by at least five goals. They have not competed for the IHLC since 1982, one year after their last competition in the top pool at the World Championship, and two years after their only Olympic appearance.
🇫🇷 FRANCE (FRA) Men’s National Ice Hockey Team (1905-)
21 wins, 10 reigns, 22 games with IHLC – ranked 11th
IHLC last held 04 May 2018
France played in the first ever men’s international hockey game in 1905, losing the inaugural IHLC to Belgium, before becoming the second ever champion in 1906. While France was a competitive squad in the pre-war era, Les Bleus were largely dormant during the Iron Curtain era of dominance, only coming back on to the championship stage in the early 1990’s. Since then, however, France has held the IHLC on a number occasions, and continue to qualify star players into the NHL and KHL.
🇯🇵 JAPAN (JPN) Men’s Junior National Ice Hockey Team (1982-)
Japan, despite only qualifying for a single World Junior Championship in 1993, has the unique distinction of playing twice for the IHLC in the same tournament, despite being outscored 15-1. Japan has since bobbled between Division I and II, not regaining their success of the early 1990’s on the junior level.
🇩🇪 EAST GERMANY (GDR) Men’s National Ice Hockey Team (1951-90)
2 wins, 2 reigns, 2 games with IHLC – ranked 18th
IHLC last held 14 April 1976
Following the split of Germany in 1949, the East German team was formed in 1951, and played for their first IHLC title in 1956. However, it would not be until 1969 when the GDR won its first IHLC from Sweden, their first of only two IHLC wins and reigns in their history, with their second and final win coming in 1976. The GDR competed at three Olympics as unified team with West Germany, only participating in the 1968 Olympics as their own team. The East Germans played their final IHLC game in 1985, before the team folded in 1990, just prior to Germany reunifying into a single country and team.
🇦🇹 AUSTRIA (AUT) Men’s National Ice Hockey Team (1912-)
2 wins, 1 reign, 2 games with IHLC – ranked 19th
IHLC last held 02 February 1931
An early contender for the IHLC, the Austrian squad first played for the IHLC in 1928, and won its first title in a rain-soaked 1-0 upset over Canada in 1930, the Canadians’ first loss as a national team in nearly 18 years. While the team suffered as a result of the World War II delay, and the emergence of teams east of the Iron Curtain, the Eagles have found a resurgence in recent years, backed by a growing contingent of NHL players, to compete for the IHLC. Their last IHLC win may have been in 1931, but look for Austria to continue contending for years to come.