🇮🇹 ITALY (ITA) Men’s National Ice Hockey Team
1 win, 1 reign, 1 game with IHLC – ranked 23rd
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
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
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 three times since 1951 (1962, 1994, 2019).
🇸🇪 SWEDEN (SWE) Women’s National Ice Hockey Team
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.