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Thread: New format for IIHF World Championships and Lower Divsions...?

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    IIHF New format for IIHF World Championships and Lower Divsions...?

    From the new ice times:

    Competition Committee Update:

    The competition Committee has been hard at work to find an agreeable format for the IIHF Championship program. The Committee presented a proposal to the congress that user a set of nine requirement for IIHF Championship events in addition to a set of 16 principles.

    Each member national association has until November 15 to respond to the Competition Committee's proposal with feedback and concerns. After the deadline it is the goal of the committee to create a new championship format that both meets the requirements of the member nations and satisfies the requirements and principles of the IIHF World Championship program.

    In addition, the committee update the minimum participation standards and created a way to more easily enforce those standards. Once the committee receives the feedback from the nations, they will reconvene to review the comments.


    ====

    Anyone know anything else about this?

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    IHF Member v-man's Avatar
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    Nope, but it looks like they may be moving forward with Canada's proposal to reduce the number of teams at the top level. Either way, I can't check out the actual text, cause there seems to be a problem with the new Ice Times edition. It's not opening for me.

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    IHF Member Karsten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by v-man View Post
    Nope, but it looks like they may be moving forward with Canada's proposal to reduce the number of teams at the top level. Either way, I can't check out the actual text, cause there seems to be a problem with the new Ice Times edition. It's not opening for me.
    It's not a Canadian proposal. It's a Finnish-Swedish proposal supported by Russia. Canada, as usual, has stayed very much on the sidelines.

    Anyway, Rene Fasel has been anything but enthusiastic about the proposal. Hockey is struggling outside top 10 and reducing the IHWC would only make things worse. In order to stop the proposal in its track, Fasel asked Infront, IIHF's marketing partner, to assess the economic consequences of the proposal. Infront's study was submitted to IIHF's biannual congress in Montreux in September last year.

    The study showed that it would have serious negative economic consequences if the number of participants were reduced. The gate receipts would largely be unaffected, but the marketing income and income from tv rights would seriously take a hit. Since this income is exclusively allotted to the IIHF, the IIHF therefore also has a material interest in keeping the present system.

    The IIHF Congress decided to defer the issue to IIHF's Competition Commitee with a view to discuss the competition format further at the annual congress in Bern in May 2009. If possible, a final decision would be taken at the biannual meeting in Tunis in September.

    During the Winter 2008/09, the Competition Committee came up with a radical proposal that would abandon the current division system at all age levels and genders. The division system would be replaced with a system similar to the Olympic qualification system.

    The IHWC will be kept at 16 participants, but in the future only 1 nation would be relegated. Throughout each season there will be pre-pre-, pre- and final qualification tournaments based mainly on world ranking points, and partly on geographical criteria (as is the case already in the lower divisions).

    In the final qualification tournament, there will 6 teams and only one team (the winner) will be promoted for next season's world championship. On the same token only one team will be relegated from the world championships.

    It's a radical proposal that requires a lot of careful thought and that's why the IIHF members have now been asked to submit their thoughts. I haven't seen the final proposal. I called a high ranking IIHF official this morning, but was unable to reach him. Should be able to get in touch with him early next week to hear if anything has changed.

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    IHF Member Karsten's Avatar
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    Had the talk and will write a lengthy article about the issue. Quite revolutionary stuff. Stay tuned.

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    IHF Member Bennison's Avatar
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    Can't wait... Is it still just a proposal, or has the decision been made?
    Cum bibam cervisiam gaudeo.

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    IHF Member Karsten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennison View Post
    Can't wait... Is it still just a proposal, or has the decision been made?
    Competition Committee proposal. Due for decision at the Annual Congress in Cologne in May, or if needed, at an extraordinary IIHF Congress in September next year.

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    IHF Member Karsten's Avatar
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    OKAY, HERE YOU ARE:

    http://www.internationalhockey.net/a...-and-analysis/

    You got the news here first so if you spread the word, please remember to link/cite. ;-)

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    IHF Member Alessandro Seren Rosso's Avatar
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    Excellent article! And I've spread the word
    My articles at The Hockey Writers

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    IHF Staff Piotrek's Avatar
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    Great article.
    BTW, one thing is wondering me. You put Poland to Div I, but following to the this year final standings Polish team should be, unfortunatelly, in Div II due to 4th place in Div I B.
    Bo gdyby, ach gdyby wszystko na tym świecie dało się rostrzygać na lodowiskach, w trzech tercjach, kijem i krążkiem, to nie tylko wszak kanadyjskim zawodowcom z NHL, nie tylko wiarołomnym antysocjalistycznym Czechom, ale całemu światu, ba, nawet duszmanom z Pandższiru, Heratu i Kandaharu spuściłaby tęgi a druzgocący wpierdol hokejowa reprezentacja ZSRR, a w jej składzie Ragulin, Fetisow, Kasatonow oraz, bladź, Kapustin, Golikow i Malcew.

    Andrzej Sapkowski, "Żmija"

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    IHF Member Bennison's Avatar
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    Excellent article Karsten. I can't help but wonder what the rationale behind the proposal to run lower divisions semi-annually is. If the lower division countries want to play every year, I guess the answer is that IIHF cannot financially carry the events more often.
    Cum bibam cervisiam gaudeo.

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    IHF Member Karsten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piotrek View Post
    Great article.
    BTW, one thing is wondering me. You put Poland to Div I, but following to the this year final standings Polish team should be, unfortunatelly, in Div II due to 4th place in Div I B.
    The allocation of divisions will be based on position in IIHF's World Ranking, not position in last year's tournament, and according to the 2009 IIHF World Ranking, Poland would be placed in Division I (world rank: 22). However, I explicitly point out that it is only if the proposal was implemented today, the divisions would look like this. If the proposal is adopted next year, the allocation of divisions will be based on the 2010 World ranking and there may also be a phase-in period.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bennison View Post
    Excellent article Karsten. I can't help but wonder what the rationale behind the proposal to run lower divisions semi-annually is. If the lower division countries want to play every year, I guess the answer is that IIHF cannot financially carry the events more often.
    This is explained in length in the article and your guess is correct

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    IHF Staff Piotrek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karsten View Post
    The allocation of divisions will be based on position in IIHF's World Ranking, not position in last year's tournament, and according to the 2009 IIHF World Ranking, Poland would be placed in Division I (world rank: 22). However, I explicitly point out that it is only if the proposal was implemented today, the divisions would look like this. If the proposal is adopted next year, the allocation of divisions will be based on the 2010 World ranking and there may also be a phase-in period.
    Thanks, Karsten, I understand now.
    So, if that proposal will be adopted, I'm affraid Poland will become very quick a II Division team anyway. Unfortunatelly we are every year weaker and if in our hockey will not be made a changes. But it's topic for another conversation.
    Bo gdyby, ach gdyby wszystko na tym świecie dało się rostrzygać na lodowiskach, w trzech tercjach, kijem i krążkiem, to nie tylko wszak kanadyjskim zawodowcom z NHL, nie tylko wiarołomnym antysocjalistycznym Czechom, ale całemu światu, ba, nawet duszmanom z Pandższiru, Heratu i Kandaharu spuściłaby tęgi a druzgocący wpierdol hokejowa reprezentacja ZSRR, a w jej składzie Ragulin, Fetisow, Kasatonow oraz, bladź, Kapustin, Golikow i Malcew.

    Andrzej Sapkowski, "Żmija"

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    Good work ;-)

    I'm very much in line with that proposal as it basically adopts what Graham (and myself) have written here on several occasions - getting rid of the parallel groups that strech the level of teams within the groups too much. 6 team divisions will give much more balanced tournaments which follows immediately if one believes that a. the ranking procedure is (strictly) monotonic in the teams' strengths, which it is more than less.

    But if it really was up to competitive balance the IIHF would have to go one step further and decrease the size of the top pool. Cutting the bottom 4-8 (basically the bottom 9 ;-) teams off the elite pool would give rise to the possibility of creating a very balanced second tier with as much as about 12 teams, not to speak about the small remaining elite level which would be just a killer.

    But I know this is not popular and maybe also not suitable for the growth of the sport resp. convergence of the layers of teams we have (although this is not unambiguous as I think). What makes me however wonder a little bit is that the study you mention Fasel has "ordered" and that advocates against shrinking the elite pool comes from Infront, as I understand it Fasel's handpicked partner... I mean both Fasel and Infront imho always had a clear position in this issue that imho is not such that there is a unique better or worse for all parties involved. In so far the study (which can nevertheless satisfy good research praactice requirements, I'm not claiming that it doesn't) should be seen with more caution as it would have to if it was conducted by a more neutral institution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Piotrek View Post
    Thanks, Karsten, I understand now.
    So, if that proposal will be adopted, I'm affraid Poland will become very quick a II Division team anyway. Unfortunatelly we are every year weaker and if in our hockey will not be made a changes. But it's topic for another conversation.
    But this is just a labeling resp. framing effect that shouldn't matter at all. I mean the level of the teams and their relation to each other doesn't change if you change the labels under which they compete, right?

    Expanding the elite pool didn't make any of the second row countries more "elite" except in a purely semantic sense....
    What counts is if we will get thrilling tournamnets in which competition is good among all teams involved imho. Teams should in general play against their peers that's what makes things exciting irrespective of the label attached to it. Otherwise we could form one big elite pool with all countries and everyone would be top all at a sudden...

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    IHF Staff Marc Brunengraber's Avatar
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    I much prefer the current 16-12-12 system, with two promotions and relegations per division.

    It gives the lower-ranked nations at least a hope to play with the "big boys." And for a lower-ranked nation to play with the "big boys" helps to promote the sport in that country, even if the results are lopsided losses and quick relegation back to the division it came up from.

    How exciting 2006 was for Israeli hockey fans, and how exciting 2009 was for Australian hockey fans! How exciting is it for Serbian fans right now?

    That would all be extinguished with the new system, and that would be sad.

    If the true aim is to promote and grow the sport world wide, then this Competition Committee proposal is a catastrophe, and Sweden, Finland and Russia should all hang their heads in shame. Of course, they don't care at all about growth - they care about their federations making money and virtually guaranteeing the chance to host the Worlds every few years.

    I could even live with the division system that they're proposing - and maybe even enjoy it due to the competitive balance we'd likely see in each event, as Rex pointed out - but to have the lower ranked nations participate every second year while the higher ranked nations participate every year is a DISASTER that will kill the sport in some of these countries, in my opinion.

    Overall, it's an impending tragedy for international hockey.

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    IHF Staff Piotrek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RexKramer View Post
    But this is just a labeling resp. framing effect that shouldn't matter at all. I mean the level of the teams and their relation to each other doesn't change if you change the labels under which they compete, right?

    Expanding the elite pool didn't make any of the second row countries more "elite" except in a purely semantic sense....
    What counts is if we will get thrilling tournamnets in which competition is good among all teams involved imho. Teams should in general play against their peers that's what makes things exciting irrespective of the label attached to it. Otherwise we could form one big elite pool with all countries and everyone would be top all at a sudden...
    You have right, if you think that tournament will be more interested. The case is, that for Poland will be more difficult to be promoted to Top Division with new system, than in present. In my opinion, the discipline is developing, when you have possibilities to rivalry with stronger team, than against team on the same level. New dividing make for weaker hockey nation make practically impossible possibility to playing, and learnig, from the best teams. If teams will play only with others on the same level, they will stay in one place, they won't build up theirs skills.
    Bo gdyby, ach gdyby wszystko na tym świecie dało się rostrzygać na lodowiskach, w trzech tercjach, kijem i krążkiem, to nie tylko wszak kanadyjskim zawodowcom z NHL, nie tylko wiarołomnym antysocjalistycznym Czechom, ale całemu światu, ba, nawet duszmanom z Pandższiru, Heratu i Kandaharu spuściłaby tęgi a druzgocący wpierdol hokejowa reprezentacja ZSRR, a w jej składzie Ragulin, Fetisow, Kasatonow oraz, bladź, Kapustin, Golikow i Malcew.

    Andrzej Sapkowski, "Żmija"

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    I think this hope that teams improve when playing a handful of games against opponents that are way better is nothing but a big illusion. 2 facts to back this up:

    1. we are talking about senior players that means athletes who are beyond the period of developing the skills that make a player (skating and stickhandling in very first place) . Senior especially younger senior players can of course still improve resp. mature but there's a quite tight boundary for improvement. If your mediocre with 20-22 years because you don't have the necessary talent and/or had insufficient quality and/or quantity of training in your formative phase (from U10 to about 18-20) you're not becoming a Crosby anymore no matter what you do.

    2. we're talking about national team hockey, that means about 10-15 games a year maximum (less for lower nations and few players play all of them in general). Athletes are made in years and years of competition and more important training (which is often underestimated by people that have no or little experience in active competitive sport). What does the international competiton really add given that it makes up about 10-15% of the games a player has in a season and an in total completely negligible fraction of the time a player spends on the ice per season? I'm convinced that it is less than commonly assumed.

    Given this I think it is a "nice" thing if a lower national team gets slaughtered by Russia or Canada once a year but it doesn't get them anywhere. Just as it doesn't get them anywhere playing opponents way below their standard. In that sense when you look at how the typical IHWC tournament of a lower elite country (3rd and 4th seeded) works, it follows the same pattern for all of them. In the preliminary round they concentrate on the game against the lowest seeded opponent because winning this one quasi guarantees staying up. If this game is won the remaining games are typically just a bonus without much to win. If this game is lost there's 3 more do or die games in the relegation round against teams of more or less equal level.

    Don't get me wrong I don't say that international games have no development impact at all for even a given generation of players but the big mismatches (for instance top 7 team against else especually teams below the level of Latvia, Belarus, Switzerland or Germany if they have a good year) don't let anyone profit bare the fact that these games give the underdogs 60 minutes in the spotlight in which the world sees them getting spanked. If this kind of exposure helps, maybe it does in the long run kind of indirectly but not in the way that this set of players that got spanked gets better.

    If one would want to use the international games best one would have to play the bulk of games against a mix of teams around the own level I'm convinced. In terms of my country I guess the best was to play most games against countries like Germany, France, Norway, Switzerland, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Poland, Kazakhstan etc. Those are the right games, matches against Russia, USA, Sweden on the upside and Netherlands, Korea, Great Britain, Estonia, Croatia etc. have little to no benefit imho.

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    IHF Staff Piotrek's Avatar
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    Understood your point. I hope, you have a right Rex, and, if this new system will be adopted, it will be better for Poland too.
    Last edited by Piotrek; 01-11-2009 at 09:04.
    Bo gdyby, ach gdyby wszystko na tym świecie dało się rostrzygać na lodowiskach, w trzech tercjach, kijem i krążkiem, to nie tylko wszak kanadyjskim zawodowcom z NHL, nie tylko wiarołomnym antysocjalistycznym Czechom, ale całemu światu, ba, nawet duszmanom z Pandższiru, Heratu i Kandaharu spuściłaby tęgi a druzgocący wpierdol hokejowa reprezentacja ZSRR, a w jej składzie Ragulin, Fetisow, Kasatonow oraz, bladź, Kapustin, Golikow i Malcew.

    Andrzej Sapkowski, "Żmija"

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    Quote Originally Posted by RexKramer View Post
    But this is just a labeling resp. framing effect that shouldn't matter at all. I mean the level of the teams and their relation to each other doesn't change if you change the labels under which they compete, right?

    Expanding the elite pool didn't make any of the second row countries more "elite" except in a purely semantic sense....
    What counts is if we will get thrilling tournamnets in which competition is good among all teams involved imho. Teams should in general play against their peers that's what makes things exciting irrespective of the label attached to it. Otherwise we could form one big elite pool with all countries and everyone would be top all at a sudden...
    Rex, "labelling" _is_ a very important part. It has a lot to do with sponsoring for example. 2nd tier and (even an only theoretical) chance to promote makes bigger publicity than 3rd tier for example. I just saw the impact of the top division appearence of Team Hungary. Full house in an Olympic pre-qualifyer for example. Maybe it's not a big thing for traditional lifting teams like Austria, but I do think it's not the case here or in Slovenia. Moreover, this proposal makes the "elite club" even more closed and exclusive as it is right now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Piotrek View Post
    You have right, if you think that tournament will be more interested. The case is, that for Poland will be more difficult to be promoted to Top Division with new system, than in present. In my opinion, the discipline is developing, when you have possibilities to rivalry with stronger team, than against team on the same level. New dividing make for weaker hockey nation make practically impossible possibility to playing, and learnig, from the best teams. If teams will play only with others on the same level, they will stay in one place, they won't build up theirs skills.
    Completely agree.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kerusz View Post
    Completely agree.

    Then tell me what the Japanese learned from the time when they were in fact guaranteed a spot in the elite for years....

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    IHF Member Karsten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RexKramer View Post

    I'm very much in line with that proposal as it basically adopts what Graham (and myself) have written here on several occasions - getting rid of the parallel groups that strech the level of teams within the groups too much. 6 team divisions will give much more balanced tournaments which follows immediately if one believes that a. the ranking procedure is (strictly) monotonic in the teams' strengths, which it is more than less.

    But if it really was up to competitive balance the IIHF would have to go one step further and decrease the size of the top pool. Cutting the bottom 4-8 (basically the bottom 9 ;-) teams off the elite pool would give rise to the possibility of creating a very balanced second tier with as much as about 12 teams, not to speak about the small remaining elite level which would be just a killer.
    It's actually an old idea that has been aired now and then in the past 20 years - 'keeping the family together' prevented it from being implemented. As you and Graham recall, six is a magic number in IIHF competitions. It goes all the way back to the late 60s when the IHWC was played with six participants.

    Further, as explained in the article, competitive balance is only one of key concerns in the Competition Committee's proposal. If it was the only concern, you might as well cut the IHWC to six or eight.



    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Brunengraber View Post

    If the true aim is to promote and grow the sport world wide, then this Competition Committee proposal is a catastrophe, and Sweden, Finland and Russia should all hang their heads in shame. Of course, they don't care at all about growth - they care about their federations making money and virtually guaranteeing the chance to host the Worlds every few years.
    What makes you think that it is a Swedish-Finnish-Russian proposal? Sweden and Russia aren't even represented in the CC.

    Personally, I think the proposal is well thought-out. My only concern is that the IHWC might - emphasize might - only be played every second year in the very low divisions, but the CC doesn't address where the cut should be made. If it is the very lowest division, it would alleviate my concerns as this group will basically be made up of newcomers who probably don't have the resources to play in the IHWC every year.

    The proposal addresses the reality--that the IHWC divisions are heavily imbalanced competitively, and I think its fine that the Competition Committee has been inspired by modern sports economics when working out the proposal. Whether it will be implemented remains to be seen.

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    IHF Member Karsten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RexKramer View Post

    Given this I think it is a "nice" thing if a lower national team gets slaughtered by Russia or Canada once a year but it doesn't get them anywhere. Just as it doesn't get them anywhere playing opponents way below their standard. In that sense when you look at how the typical IHWC tournament of a lower elite country (3rd and 4th seeded) works, it follows the same pattern for all of them. In the preliminary round they concentrate on the game against the lowest seeded opponent because winning this one quasi guarantees staying up. If this game is won the remaining games are typically just a bonus without much to win. If this game is lost there's 3 more do or die games in the relegation round against teams of more or less equal level.
    In my opinion, that's a little too narrowminded.

    I have followed the development in Denmark and Norway closehand for many years, and I can come to thing of at least two important factors:

    1. Since entering the elite division, the Danish Hockey Association has received financial support from Team Denmark, a national organization that distribute financial grants to promote elite sport. In 2008, DIU received DKK6.5 mio. from TD, or 1/3 of its total budget. DIU uses the money on talent development, coaching programs and on the national teams. If Denmark played in Div. I, DIU would not receive this support.

    2. Playing in the elite division, gives the national team players more exposure. It is not a coincidence that so many Norwegian players have moved to Elitserien since the Summer of 2008. The Norwegian invasion was directly related to Norway's success in the 2008 IHWC. So playing in the IHWC makes it easier to move to the big league and this is another area where you'll find the development impact.
    Last edited by Karsten; 01-11-2009 at 13:23.

  24. #24
    IHF Staff Marc Brunengraber's Avatar
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    I was completely ignorant of this issue until I read your (very well written and supported) article.

    My comment was directed at what your post #3 said.

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    IHF Staff Steigs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RexKramer View Post
    1. we are talking about senior players that means athletes who are beyond the period of developing the skills that make a player (skating and stickhandling in very first place) . Senior especially younger senior players can of course still improve resp. mature but there's a quite tight boundary for improvement. If your mediocre with 20-22 years because you don't have the necessary talent and/or had insufficient quality and/or quantity of training in your formative phase (from U10 to about 18-20) you're not becoming a Crosby anymore no matter what you do.

    Except that there is still room for improvement at the adult ages, it simply won't be quite as pronounced for the most part. And it will not come just from playing against tougher competition for a dozen games at IHWC.
    Taking the example of Team Hungary though, you can see how the team has more or less plateaued in recent years as a mid-high Div I team. Then a club entered a much stronger league (EBEL), showed that they were lacking strength at first, then got stronger in their second year, and are now in a playoff position (for the moment). in that time though, the core of the NT also played for this ever-improving club, regularly against stronger competition. And from there we've seen the results of the NT improve as they shocked for an upset victory in DivI, and now we'll see if that momentum can be continued this year in DivI once again after relegation.
    Three years ago, that historic victory in Japan would have been unimaginable. But playing regularly agaisnt top competition can make that little bit of a difference in the long run.
    Now, using that as an excuse to keep the current parallel division format, remains nonsense, because 5 games a year for an NT will not make that difference. Only regular exposure to higher competition will. The only way for the Netherlands to get stronger, for example, would be to have a club enter a stronger league (i.e. the German 2.Bundesliga) and be exposed to stronger competition over the course of a full season. Ditto Partizan into Slovenia (as an example), or Medvescak into EBEL (though I wish they'd give more of their home players more experience at that level, that's another topic for another thread), Korean clubs into Asian League, etc etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karsten View Post
    In my opinion, that's a little too narrowminded.

    I have followed the development in Denmark and Norway closehand for many years, and I can come to thing of at least two important factors:

    1. Since entering the elite division, the Danish Hockey Association has received financial support from Team Denmark, a national organization that distribute financial grants to promote elite sport. In 2008, DIU received DKK6.5 mio. from TD, or 1/3 of its total budget. DIU uses the money on talent development, coaching programs and on the national teams. If Denmark played in Div. I, DIU would receive this support.

    2. Playing in the elite division, gives the national team players more exposure. It is not a coincidence that so many Norwegian players have moved to Elitserien since the Summer of 2008. The Norwegian invasion was directly related to Norway's success in the 2008 IHWC. So playing in the IHWC makes it easier to move to the big elites and this is where you'll find the development impact.
    Karsten, I was in first place arguing about the "learning effect" it gives to a GIVEN_SET of non-elite players aka as a national team of a lesser country when playing against elite opposition. This (imho phantom) effect is often put into placae when arguing for large tournaments. What you mention -(public) funding that is contingent on participation on a certain level of competition- has an effect that I do not deny although this positive effect will materialize in future generations and hardly in the current one BUT this requirement is purely due to a framing effect. The Danish NT has its current position in the ranking and is qualified for IHWC and thus gets funded by Team Denmark...what if IIHF now reduces the number of participants in the top level such that DK had to compete in the second tier? Denmark would get attached a differnt label, the actual strength of the team would be left unchanged as also those of the other teams and thus the ranking. Imho such a move SHOULDN'T prompt a funding institution to cut back the support although I know it most likely would, but this is just not really rational. In both cases the probability of a really countable success (winning a medal) is zero anyway (in the one case it is zero by definition in the other quasi zero by reality).

    Norway: yes the Norwegians did great in IHWC 08 but they did so because they are just a bunch of very good players and not because of the fact that they could participate in the top level tournament. In that sense would it have been rational for the Swedish clubs not to sign all this players if Norway for instance had not finisehd 8th in a 16 team top level tournament but first in the second tier tournament behind a 8 team tier I tourney? The Skröders, Aasens, Holos' etc wouldn't be worse players in that case and there'd be no reason for the SEL clubs NOT to hire them bare they didn't know about them which would be due to insufficient scouting in the first place.

    Put together I think the 16 team "elite" level (of which more than 50% are not elite at all) is an inflated construction that produces a lot of games without any chance of the underdog to win and accordingly little efforts by both teams involved. Karsten, you mention it yourself in the article....for the big teams the tournament doesn't really start after the first week while for the lower teams in the first week there's just one game that counts, that shall be the optimal format only because it carries the "elite" label? I can't believe there's nothing better.
    The really attractive games on any level are those with sufficentl unpredictability of outcome, when peers play each other. And there exist formats that can give a large number of teams the elite label while still emphasizing games among teams of a kind (see the FIRS inline hockey - vertical separation of the set of participants with limited exchange inbetween the layers afther the preliminary stage).
    Last edited by RexKramer; 01-11-2009 at 14:19.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steigs View Post
    Now, using that as an excuse to keep the current parallel division format, remains nonsense, because 5 games a year for an NT will not make that difference. Only regular exposure to higher competition will. The only way for the Netherlands to get stronger, for example, would be to have a club enter a stronger league (i.e. the German 2.Bundesliga) and be exposed to stronger competition over the course of a full season. Ditto Partizan into Slovenia (as an example), or Medvescak into EBEL (though I wish they'd give more of their home players more experience at that level, that's another topic for another thread), Korean clubs into Asian League, etc etc.
    Absolutely true. Everday league play and everday practice from an early age on makes a hockey player not (senior) national team play...
    Insofar I don't know what to do with your first sentence....the arguments I have brought up are certainly no excuse for keeping the parallel groups, on the contrary. Get rid of the tournaments with nonsense match ups, get rid of the idea that senior national team hockey develops the sport in a country. To do so go and develop the junior/youth hockey systems, go and get the seniors into a demanding (but not overwhelming) competition...that's the way to do it.
    In that sense Zagreb is imho doing the exactly right thing even if they are not using their home bred players a lot by now, because the bulk of them are simply not good enough. Those who are or have the potential, let them practice with the pros, teach them, send them to camps and let them fight their way up....

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    The current format has not worked for any of the Australian teams for the past 9 years.

    Our Youth team has been yoyoing for the past few years now between gold medals in div 3 to getting relegated from div 2, depending on which year you play, its gold or a arse kicking. Although there was a good run in div 2 for 3 years where the team once medalled, this was due more to quality coaching and luck than development of the sport here. The junior team had the same thing but couldnt substain it and now finds itself probably going through the same process as the youth for the next few years if they can get back up. Our senior team has minor medalled easily for the last few years and now has the possibility of going through the same up and down process that our youth and junior teams after finally cracking gold in div 2.

    The current position of our hockey in the present format sees a scenario where by we have 1maybe 2 difficult games for a gold medal or 1 maybe 2 opportunities to win a game to avoid relegation and no chance to medal. The chance of one of our teams stepping up and medalling in the pool above is as likely as a 11 or 12 placed world pool team medalling against the top four, slim and none in the short time. The current structure is basically riddled with teams going to tournaments and having one or two competitive games and the others are just either getting beat easily or winning easily, depending on what pool u are playing. Most teams dont get the opportunity to move very much each year as the 12 different rankings in each pool of 6 means you may step up a place or two occasionally but this is not sustainable at youth & junior due to the age groups moving on.

    While occasionally there are exceptions with teams having miracle years, this is mainly due to exceptional circumstances, ie, coaching, the odd elite player being picked up or teams bombing or standing on there heads. not really a true and just reflection of where a nation currently stands.

    The new format will allow teams the opportunity to play against teams directly above or below and provide for much closer tournaments for all teams, really rewarding those programs that do the work to improve and penalise those that dont. Also the ongoing rivaries that will develop can only be good for all concerned as is the case with all sporting contests.

    From our players point of view, in the current format you may be rewarded with a gold medal one year and no chance of anything the next. Our junior team went through a process where they medalled one year then the following three years just played for survival. This becomes quite dispareging over time and is never going to result in continued improvment as the possibly of climbing 2 or 4 spots is difficult enough, to climb 8-12 spots near impossible over any realistic period of time.

    The only drawback with the new system is the bi annual tournaments for lower grades.

    While at a senior level this may work due to the longevity of players attending in the open age group, for youth and junior it will restrain development. For a player to only have one year at youth or junior level would not be in the best interest of the game and it has already been mentioned that younger players have more opportunity to develop, why limit this. Our younger players have possibly the highest cost to attend tournaments yet people have shown that they are willing to make that commintment, the IIHF should also make this commitment. A player attending a youth tournament should get the opportunity to take the experience away and further develop for the next years comp and then go through the same thing at the junior level.

    Surely the cost associated with staging a youth or junior tournament is cheaper than that of a senior tournament and the long term rewards much greater than that of seniors in regard to impoved ability for a hockey nation.

    I look forward to hearing which way the IIHF goes with the new propsals, it will be interesting to see what they consider to be within the best interest of the game and especially whether they are going to continue investing money into developing the sport globally. The new format will change the entire way the game is allowed to be showcased at different levels and should be their first priority before they look at cutting costs, especially at the junior at youth level.

  29. #29
    IHF Member Karsten's Avatar
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    Rex,

    the development of hockey needs to be built from the bottom up. This is a trivial proposition. Key question is whether playing in the (top) World Championship has a positive impact on this development? It is also a key question for the IIHF when reviewing the impact on the new system on the lower divisions.

    The current competitive balance is only one factor in this equation. The dynamic impact on competitive balance is another, and probably more important, factor. And then there are the financial issues which are also important factors.

    As for the latter, the IIHF only earns money on two events: the (top) IHWC and the (top) U20 World Championship (when played in Canada or USA). Cutting the IHWC from 16 to 14, 12, 8 or 6 would have a negative impact on IIHF's finances. And this means less money to fund the tournaments in the lower tiers and the development of hockey in minor hockey countries. For this reason, we can pretty much forget about the discussion of reducing the number of participants in the top tier. This is what the CC has done.

    But just to make sure: playing in the top tier does have a real positive impact on development. In elite nations such as Sweden and Finland, the existence of the national youth development program hinges on the two countries being allowed to host the IHWC with regular interval (as indicated in the article). In Denmark, the national youth development program--which, by the way, is very successful--hinges on funding from Team Denmark which is further conditional on playing in the top tier and reach certain goals within this tier.
    Whether TD should keep its funding if Denmark moves down to a lower tier is irrelevant. For Team Denmark its all about exposure. The national team gets far less exposure if it moves down to a lower tier. It is not about getting medals. The Danish football team is almost equally unlike to win medals in the World Cup, but this doesn't prevent it from being heavily funded by TD.
    TD receives 60% of its funds from the state, and 40% from the various sports association of which DIU is one. If Denmark moved down to a lower tier, DIU would have to donate a significant part of its income to TD, and this would set back youth development further. For this reason, it is vital for the Danish national team to stay up in the top tier.

    Your point about Norway is a little too theoretical for my taste. The reality is that Norway has an excellent development program that largely went under the radar until the Norwegian national team reached the playoffs in IHWC 2008. If Norway had played in Division I, this would probably have remained a secret for several more years. The success of the national team made it possible for the Norwegian players to move to the Swedish leagues, and this will only make them and the national team better. So, yes, playing in the top tier against the elite nations does indeed get middlerank nations such as Norway somewhere.

    These are IMO undeniable facts which supports the claim that playing in the top tier helps the development of hockey in middlerank nations.

    There are also other arguments:

    One is that for countries like Denmark and Norway, it is far more attractive to play against Sweden, Canada and Russia than against Romania, Croatia and Estonia. The best national players are thus much more inclined to play for the national team and this creates a healthy competitive environment that only makes the national team better.

    If you ask the players, they do claim that they learn a lot from playing against the elite nations. Playing against better teams year in and year out provides a yardstick to measure progress.

    As I point out in the article (drawback section), this could very well also hold true for teams in the lower tiers and for this reason the CC should carefully study the issues further.

  30. #30
    IHF Member welmu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steigs View Post
    Now, using that as an excuse to keep the current parallel division format, remains nonsense, because 5 games a year for an NT will not make that difference. Only regular exposure to higher competition will. The only way for the Netherlands to get stronger, for example, would be to have a club enter a stronger league (i.e. the German 2.Bundesliga) and be exposed to stronger competition over the course of a full season. Ditto Partizan into Slovenia (as an example), or Medvescak into EBEL (though I wish they'd give more of their home players more experience at that level, that's another topic for another thread), Korean clubs into Asian League, etc etc.
    so many long posts here that ít takes days for just reading this thread... but this is where I agree completely. 5 games a year in one week doesn't do much. When you have a better chance to promote it gives you more excitment and, like someone said, its far more easier to promote games. Its more important thing IMO that you have 5000 people at rink and not 200 watching Div2 games every second year, even if you play those 5 games a year against similiar" opponents. Maybe this works for Div 1 though but imo definetly not in Div 2 and lower divisions. But i agree if all these changes will be made because of money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Billo View Post
    Karsten, this is not mentioned in the article. Is it a rumor or is it one of the proposals? Maybe it's good to clarify it.
    Frankly, I hardly think that the article can be more specific. It's mentioned many times: in the abstract, in the very beginning of the article etc. etc.

    Here's a key passage:

    The Competition Committee's proposal was submitted to the IIHF's semi-annual Congress in Tunis in September. This Congress in turn decided to allow each national member association two months to express their views and concerns. When the deadline expires on 15 November, the Competition Committee will resume its work and present a final proposal for the annual IIHF Congress in Cologne in May next year. If no decision is taken at this meeting, the IIHF will call for an extraordinary session on the issue to be held at the semi-annual congress in Slovenia in September 2010.

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    According to an article on hokej.net, there a few things on this topic from Polish Ice Hockey Federation.
    IIHF gave to federation possibilities to reference the changes in the project of playing IHWC until 15.11.2009. PZHL proposes that the world championships should be played every four years alternating with continental championships, it means the same system, which is used in football.

    Here is basic assumptions of the project:
    - Organizing World Cup every 4 years (alternating with the Continents Championship) with the participation of 16 teams. To every tournament should be played qualifications. Only host team could be exempted from participation in qualifying.
    - in the Continental Championships (Europe, America, Asia / Australia), played every 4 years, is involved in from 6 (America) to 12 (Europe) teams.
    - cycle qualifications of both championships, the World Cup and continental, would take a year.

    PZHL don't agree with the project of change by IIHF and, if PZHL's proposal will be rejected, Polish would to discuss the case with these guidelines:
    - 16 teams in IHWC, but four teams are relegated each year
    - Division I will be still played in two groups, two teams per group can get a promotion. The purpose of this increased turnover is frequent playing weaker teams with stronger and the same would be compensation levels of national teams.
    - From Division I to Division II should be relegated two teams, one per group.
    - Division III should be abolished.
    Bo gdyby, ach gdyby wszystko na tym świecie dało się rostrzygać na lodowiskach, w trzech tercjach, kijem i krążkiem, to nie tylko wszak kanadyjskim zawodowcom z NHL, nie tylko wiarołomnym antysocjalistycznym Czechom, ale całemu światu, ba, nawet duszmanom z Pandższiru, Heratu i Kandaharu spuściłaby tęgi a druzgocący wpierdol hokejowa reprezentacja ZSRR, a w jej składzie Ragulin, Fetisow, Kasatonow oraz, bladź, Kapustin, Golikow i Malcew.

    Andrzej Sapkowski, "Żmija"

  33. #33
    IHF Member Bennison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piotrek View Post
    - Division III should be abolished.
    Interesting notion. I wonder why and I wonder what they expect those teams to do. Lie down and die?
    Cum bibam cervisiam gaudeo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennison View Post
    Interesting notion. I wonder why and I wonder what they expect those teams to do. Lie down and die?
    I also don't know why, in that article there was any reason, why PZHL want to abolished Division III. In my opinion this point is completely nonsense.
    Bo gdyby, ach gdyby wszystko na tym świecie dało się rostrzygać na lodowiskach, w trzech tercjach, kijem i krążkiem, to nie tylko wszak kanadyjskim zawodowcom z NHL, nie tylko wiarołomnym antysocjalistycznym Czechom, ale całemu światu, ba, nawet duszmanom z Pandższiru, Heratu i Kandaharu spuściłaby tęgi a druzgocący wpierdol hokejowa reprezentacja ZSRR, a w jej składzie Ragulin, Fetisow, Kasatonow oraz, bladź, Kapustin, Golikow i Malcew.

    Andrzej Sapkowski, "Żmija"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennison View Post
    Interesting notion. I wonder why and I wonder what they expect those teams to do. Lie down and die?
    I also don't know what to do with these teams but think it's for IIHF applause since IIHF wants to reduce number of tournaments. But still it's stupid even though Div III tournaments are boring as hell. Generally I think this concept (the second one mentioned by Piotrek) is only with Polish NT interest in their mind and it's hard to blame national federation for thi,king so even though they claim it's for global hockey being better purpose. I mean 2 teams gaining promotion to elite and only one for relegation. While I still think even with two teams it would be hard for Poles to get promotion it is easier than with one.

    That's more general problem - IIHF wanted all national federations to submit their concerns and while it's hard to restructure system without national federations agreement their interests may be quite different than the game's interest. And as I said it's hard to blame them for defending own position.

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    "Boring as hell" in what way? Thats like me saying Div I is boring as hell when compared to the top division. Div III being abolished would be terrible for all those teams~! I understand it is a money issue but that would be a major blow to hockey EVER developing in the "lesser" nations.. I enjoy seeing the DIV III results and even watching video when available. Who cares if it isnt top notch hockey. It is people playing for their country and playing a sport they love. In my mind that alone is why they should never abolish any division or country from participating!

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    Quote Originally Posted by xunearthhxcx View Post
    "Boring as hell" in what way?
    Be real - it's not hockey. But that's the same with Div I bottom and Div II but I don't want to abolish it. Let them play but in real I don't know if games like Luxembourg-Ireland are important for world hockey. Maybe it's just me since I'm always bored by national games and think clubs are natural environment for team sports not national teams which are quite dummy. IHWC are also boring for me compared to NHL, AHL, CHL (mean Canadian junior league) or top European leagues.

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    well. I guess it could be just you,and its fine to have your opinion.But try to convey it in a way which wouldnt make the federations and players look like they are meaningless/talentless when they put alot of time and money into someting they love doing.. Yeah its not the greatest hockey by any means, but thats how it is when you have only 100 hockey players in your country! its the only way they will get better is to play every year against other opponents.

    personally for me, I get much more excited about the upoming Div I , II, III IHWC than I do about the Stanley Cup.

  39. #39
    IHF Member Bennison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xunearthhxcx View Post
    personally for me, I get much more excited about the upoming Div I , II, III IHWC than I do about the Stanley Cup.
    Ditto.
    Cum bibam cervisiam gaudeo.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowie View Post
    Be real - it's not hockey.
    Said by someone who I would guess has never witnessed a Division III tournament, where a rink is packed to the rafters with loud, knowledgeable, PROUD fans there to cheer on their country.

    I've seen it twice, in two different nations, and believe me it's not something that we should not even contemplate abolishing.

    If we're talking about the IIHF growing the sport around the world, then dropping DivIII is the stupidest idea I've ever heard of.
    If we're talking about "who gives a flying **** about hockey outside of the top 20 (or 30 if you prefer) nations in the world", then let's just go ahead and abolish DivII as well.

    What, just because they're not professional players, they shouldn't be allowed to represent their country at the world championships?

    .....


  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piotrek View Post
    - in the Continental Championships (Europe, America, Asia / Australia), played every 4 years, is involved in from 6 (America) to 12 (Europe) teams.
    Mexico, USA, Canada? Who would be the other three? I also think we would see an Asian/Oceania Championship with Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, N. Korea, S. Korea, Mongolia, India, etc.

    PZHL don't agree with the project of change by IIHF and, if PZHL's proposal will be rejected, Polish would to discuss the case with these guidelines:
    - 16 teams in IHWC, but four teams are relegated each year
    - Division I will be still played in two groups, two teams per group can get a promotion. The purpose of this increased turnover is frequent playing weaker teams with stronger and the same would be compensation levels of national teams.
    - From Division I to Division II should be relegated two teams, one per group.
    - Division III should be abolished.
    From an angle that is not looking at the economics of it at all: keep Division III. Theses teams need to play at least a little bit and a short qualifier tournament just isn't going to cut it in my mind. The problem with all these Division III teams is they don't have many options during international breaks for friendlies. UAE can't just go to Saudi Arabia and play a friendly like Austria can play in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, or Hungary. Greece could travel and play Turkey, but UAE, South Africa, Armenia, Luxembourg, Ireland, N. Korea, and Mongolia don't have nations close by that they would be too competitive with.

    I've been contemplating coming up with my own version of how the division should be set up and I think I will get around to that during the winter break after I take my final exams this semester.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steigs View Post
    Said by someone who I would guess has never witnessed a Division III tournament, where a rink is packed to the rafters with loud, knowledgeable, PROUD fans there to cheer on their country.

    I've seen it twice, in two different nations, and believe me it's not something that we should not even contemplate abolishing.

    If we're talking about the IIHF growing the sport around the world, then dropping DivIII is the stupidest idea I've ever heard of.
    If we're talking about "who gives a flying **** about hockey outside of the top 20 (or 30 if you prefer) nations in the world", then let's just go ahead and abolish DivII as well.

    What, just because they're not professional players, they shouldn't be allowed to represent their country at the world championships?

    .....

    Funny you know what I have witnessed and what I haven't. Maybe I should start to ask you what I did in my life since you "guess" you know better than me About "Rink pack to the rafters".... well, I hope one day...

    Still don't know why you address stupidity of abolishing Div III to me, maybe because I said "But still it's stupid" And while we all want to see hockey surviving in minnow countries IIHF have to live in the real world with real financial concerns in mind. And that's why now we all see this lowest divisions (call it Div III now or Div IV,V in Future Program) tournaments are in danger since these tournaments are counter-productive in economical terms. Is there a good solution to change it? I don't see it. That's why I understand IIHF concerns. However I don't want to see it abolished.

  43. #43
    IHF Staff Steigs's Avatar
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    You're right, I don't know what you've seen or not seen, I can only guess. But from watching a couple DivIII tournaments, I can tell you that I'd be hard-pressed to make some of those rosters, as a Canadian who's been playing the game for over 20 years (since I was 3 years old).
    And in both cases (Ireland and New Zealand), I was impressed from speaking to some of the locals just how much they do know about the game, and by the passion they showed for it. And believe me, "packed to the rafters" is no exaggeration.

    The second part of my post was regarding the PIHF's proposal, and the fact that I am almost disgusted by the removal of the bottom teams from the world championships, just because they aren't as good.

    Frankly, if the IIHF wants to save money, I'd look at scrapping the U18 competitions first and foremost. I can understand wanting to expand the scope of player development, but in a number of smaller countries, a large percentage of the U20 team is U18 anyway, and reducing those competitions will save a lot of money (as they are the ones that make the least money on the whole).
    In either case, removing the lowest tier of senior nations is a foolish thought.
    The only course I could really accept for the PIHF to want to do this would be to enforce participation regulations to the letter, but then that might risk killing the sport in more established nations instead, which is just as bad an idea IMO.

  44. #44
    IHF Member Karsten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steigs View Post
    In either case, removing the lowest tier of senior nations is a foolish thought.
    The only course I could really accept for the PIHF to want to do this would be to enforce participation regulations to the letter, but then that might risk killing the sport in more established nations instead, which is just as bad an idea IMO.
    The regulations are being enforced to the letter. Cf.: http://forums.internationalhockey.ne...83&postcount=7

  45. #45
    IHF Staff Steigs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karsten View Post
    The regulations are being enforced to the letter. Cf.: http://forums.internationalhockey.ne...83&postcount=7
    What I meant was to start cracking down on nations that no longer fulfill those conditions by removing their license, but the comment was made tongue-in-cheek in any case.

  46. #46
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    The proposal for a new IHWC format has been put forth by the Swedish and Finnish federations at the IIHF congress in Slovenia:

    If the new format got accepted from 2012 there will be 2 groups of 8 teams playing a round robin series before the top 4 of each team move on to the crossover knock-out games. The teams ranked 5th to 8th are done after the round robin series and the two last placed teams get relegated. The two groups will be seeded according to the IIHF world ranking.

    The new format would increase the overall number of games from 56 now to 64 but the 56 round robin games can all be scheduled in advance with both teams involved being know thus getting rid of the games in the current format for which the opponents are determined only after the preliminary round. Furthermore, as the groups are bigger differences in strength of teams on one seeding position within the perliminary round become less influential in determining the play-off qualification and more importantly relegation. On the other hand if all preliminary round games are counted towards the standings sceduling effects could bias determining the to be relegated teams.

    I'm unsure whether this is a big improvement over the old format. In terms of ticket sales probably yes, in terms of gettiing rid of mismatched games not.

    http://www.iihf.com/home-of-hockey/n...html?tx_ttnews[backPid]=955&cHash=5efe32ceda

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    Great Britain

    It says on the website they have not made a decison on the quarter final system... do you definately know it will be a crossover system (I presume that means 1st place group A plays 4th place group B, 2nd vs 3rd and so on).

    CJ :)

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    You're right, the article mentions 3 possibilities for the quaterfinals including crossover games (other two are matches within the group and a draw which is not specified at all). But to me crossover games seem by far the most plausible way as having the knock out matches within the groups would repeat games already played before which doesn't make too much sense imho and the traveling argument is if at all only valid once in a while (as in the Canda 2008 case) and not for the typical IHWC.

  49. #49
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    3,183
    HockeyExpressen writes about this as if it is already decided. "This is how the new World Championships will be".

    HockeyBladet on the other hand describes it as a Swedish/Finnish proposal and that the decision will be made today (Thursday).
    Cum bibam cervisiam gaudeo.

  50. #50
    IHF Member Conesy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Currently Moscow, Russia
    Posts
    2,329
    I feel the crossover games would be an interesting concept, however as Rex mentioned, it might mean that certain teams are playing each other more than once; maybe there could be a provision where it could be avoided. Still though, I'm looking forward to reading about what the IIHF votes on/decides.
    Twitter: @CSmeeth

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