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Thread: IIHF u20 League Requirement

  1. #1
    IHF Staff Graham's Avatar
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    IIHF u20 League Requirement

    One of the rules for taking part in the u20 Worlds is that a nation must have an u20 league with at least four teams in it playing at least 15 games each. While that rule has been ignored for some time, from what I can make out, the IIHF are insisting that it is adhered to as of next season.

    Does anyone know which countries this could impact? Ones that I'm aware of at present:

    - United Kingdom (nothing after u18)
    - France (u18 and u22 only)

    Others that I suspect don't meet the rule:

    - Canada? (junior hockey is defined as u21, not u20)
    - USA? (same issue as Canada)
    - Germany? (nothing after u19)
    - Russia? (MHL is essentially an u22 league)

    Graham.
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    IHF Staff Starkovs's Avatar
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    -Latvia: Nothing after U-18, 1.Līga has replaced it
    -Belgium: U-18 goes into U-23
    -Lithuania: Nothing after U-16

    Believe the Dutch dont have one either, looks like U-17 is their highest.

  3. #3
    IHF Staff Steigs's Avatar
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    Don't count on Canada, USA, Russia or Germany getting the boot. The leagues are essentially designed as U20 leagues (at least in the CHL/USHL models) with limited spots for "over-aged" players. Besides, the World U20 championship is one of the biggest money-making tournaments for the IIHF, they won't risk losing Canadian money on this.
    I would think that the IIHF will make exceptions for leagues that go beyond the U18 model (U19/U20/U21)....

    Other nations that go from U18 into senior leagues might consider the senior competitions as a U20 equivalent (see Latvian 1.Liga) so long as there are the required number of U20 players playing within that league? This could also apply to Belgium, UK..?

    It will be interesting to see.

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    Slovenia doesn't have a U20 league. It's sole U20 team (Olimpija) competes in Austrian U20 league EBYSL.

  5. #5
    IHF Staff Graham's Avatar
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    Steigs,

    Bylaw 402 from the IIHF statutes and bylaws states (edited to remove the irrelevant points):

    To qualify for entry into IIHF Senior Men’s and U20 Men’s Championships, all Member National Associations must comply with all of the following minimum standards within their own Associations and only within their own country, which will be controlled if necessary by the IIHF.
     Not less than 60 participating players in the category in which they have applied to participate, each of whom must be registered
    on official association registration cards (which may be requested by the IIHF with application for entry) and must be playing on the
    IIHF designated minimum size ice rink.
     Not less than four teams participating in league competition in their own country (and/or in a cross border league operating in
    accordance with Bylaw 501) in the category in which they have applied to participate. A ‘League’ shall be defined as not less than four teams. A ‘League Competition’ shall be defined as a schedule of games numbering not less than fifteen for each league member team.
    So, strictly speaking, any country that does not have a true u20 league (and Canada does not, CHL is u21, even if 20 years old are restricted) is not allowed to compete.

    I have no doubt that this will not be enforced as, frankly, too many key countries violate the rule. But, the UK is using this to try and force an u20 league in. And, personally, I think an u20 league will not be good for British hockey as it stands just now.

    Graham.
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  6. #6
    IHF Staff Marc Brunengraber's Avatar
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    None of this surprises me. As I've said for a very long time now, the IIHF selectively enforces those of its rules as it sees fit, depending upon any given situation.

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    I think this rule as it is formulated is utter bullshit. It is ok to require countries that seek to compete in IIHF events to fullfill certain minimum standards concerning domestic competition. To explicitly pin down the cut-off ages for youth leagues is pue nonsense and such rules should be immediately removed. Otherwise you end up with "dead laws" prone to arbitrary enforcement depending on target and stuation. Also the growing transnational leagues and structures have to be recognized by the IIHF and their rules (although this means cutting down the power of national federations...).

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    IHF Staff Steigs's Avatar
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    As Rex says here, trying to pin down a cutoff age for youth leagues is counter-productive.
    Which is why, despite the wording, I expect that the definition of a "U20 youth league" will in practice be broader than the strict wording suggests. Something along the lines of "a youth/age-restricted league above the U18 level" for example.

  9. #9
    IHF Staff Graham's Avatar
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    I agree that the rule is nonsense. However, I disagree with this statement:

    Quote Originally Posted by Steigs
    Which is why, despite the wording, I expect that the definition of a "U20 youth league" will in practice be broader than the strict wording suggests. Something along the lines of "a youth/age-restricted league above the U18 level" for example.
    The rule states "in the category in which they have applied to participate." That's a very precise definition (i.e. you must use the same definition as the u20 Worlds), something which "a youth/age-restricted league above the U18 level" isn't. At what age do you regard it no longer as being "youth" hockey. Canada has decided that it is 21. Russia has decided that it is 22. Who's to say that 22 isn't too old for that definition? I've even seen comments in the UK at creating an u25 league. That can't qualify, surely?

    You could also say that given the CHL regard 20 year old players as "over-age", they actually do believe that youth hockey is u20. Therefore, there would be an argument that Canada are even further away from the "spirit" of "youth" hockey by allowing players who are officially defined as "over-age".

    There are countries who have explicitly created an u20 league specifically because this rule exists (I know of NZ and Oz). The UK is also looking to create one next year, simply because of this IIHF bylaw. The Ice Hockey UK's chairman's letter on the matter is HERE.

    Note, however, that I think there is an element of IHUK using this to try and regain control of the sport away from the home nation bodies, particularly the EIHA.

    Graham.
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  10. #10
    IHF Member Bennison's Avatar
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    Swedish J20 league allows a certain number of overaged players, this year for instance Johannes Salmonsson, born in 1986, played 2 games for Linköping J20.
    Cum bibam cervisiam gaudeo.

  11. #11
    IHF Member jaaa's Avatar
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    Both Czech and Slovak leagues allow a limited number of overage players (1994 borns this season). I don't think that there even is a u20 league, which would be just exclusively just u20 players.

    Anyway the whole rule seems kinda stupid to me as well, some countries might just not have enough players to form a league at each age level and forcing them to do so will do nothing to improve hockey in those countries IMO.
    25th of June 2015 - Worst day in the history of modern hockey in Slovakia

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    Croatia had U19 and U16 leagues for years and when IIHF introduced this rule it switched to U20 and U17 leagues. Needless to say, in undeveloped countries like Croatia, everyone who is good and persistant enough to still play hockey as 19 years old, probably regularly practices and plays with the first team. As a consequence, three Croatian teams that competed in the U20 league had on its roster players from the year of 1995. all the way to 2000.

  13. #13
    IHF Staff Starkovs's Avatar
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    Just to bring this back up, the FFHG (France) has made changes to their youth leagues to comply with IIHF rules. Their U-22 league will be replaced with the U-20 and U-18 is moved down to U-17.

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