The IIHF Council (board) decided to use the North American surface markings and zone proportions for all upcoming IIHF tournaments to be played in Canada the United States 2008-2012.
Background: The IIHF has earlier decided that the 2008 IIHF World Championships in Quebec City and Halifax as well as the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver will be played on the existing North American (NHL) – sized rinks. The international sized rink measures 61 x 30 metres (200 ft x 100 ft) as opposed to the North American size of 61 x 26 metres (200 ft x 85 ft).
The next decision to be taken was whether to implement the international ice markings and zone proportions within the North American sized rinks or to stay with the existing ones. At the IIHF Council meeting in Zurich on Thursday, the IIHF’s executive body decided for the latter.
The IIHF’s Sports Director, Dave Fitzpatrick, explains:
“The biggest difference between the international and North American zone proportions is that the end-zones (offensive/defensive zones) on the North American rinks are bigger and the neutral zone is consequently smaller. Our studies show that well over 70 percent of the action in an average game takes place in the end-zones. So by using the North American zones in Canadian and American rinks, we actually compensate for the loss of space in width on the North American rinks by utilising more space in the end-zones. With this we can maintain consistency for space integrity of the game in the offensive and defensive zones.
The length of an international sized end-zone is 17.3 metres (58 ft) while the corresponding North American is 19.51 metres (64 ft). That means that the increase of the offensive and defensive zones virtually makes up for the initial loss in width space. Although playing on a smaller North American sized rink, the difference in size of the end zones becomes marginal.
The end-zone area in an international rink is 519 square metres (5800 Sq ft) while the North American is 506 square metres (5440 Sq ft).
Click to this link for a graphic chart showing the differences between an IIHF (International) and a North American (NHL) rink.
For clarity: Using North American ice markings does not extend to the NHL-shaped goal crease, neither does it include the NHL-specific trapezoid area behind the net that restricts the goaltender’s movement outside of that area. All IIHF tournaments will be played with the international goal crease and without the trapezoid area.
Here is the list of the allocated IIHF World Championships and Olympics that will be played in North America according to the above regulations:
++ 2008 IIHF World Championship (Quebec City & Halifax, Canada, May 2-18)
++ 2009 IIHF World U20 Championship (Ottawa, Canada, TBA)
++ 2009 IIHF World U18 Championship (USA, TBA)
++ 2010 IIHF World U20 Championship (Canada, TBA)
++ 2010 Olympic Winter Games (Vancouver, Canada, February 12-28)
++ 2011 IIHF World U20 Championship (USA, TBA)
++ 2012 IIHF World Women Championship (USA, TBA)
For further information:
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