ZURICH – With eight days left to the opening faceoff of the 76th IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden (May 4 – May 20, 2012) the IIHF released the men’s Pre-Championship World Ranking.
Defending IIHF World Champion Finland tops the pre-Championship World Ranking for the first time since its introduction in 2004. Finland has 2245 points going into the event, the slimmest of leads ahead of Sweden with 2240. Russia (2225) is third, Czech Republic fourth (2210) and Canada fifth (2195).
Click here for the complete 2012 Pre-Championship World Ranking.
Finland will try to become the first team since Soviet Union 1986 to win the gold medal on home ice and the first since Soviet Union 1979 to defend a gold medal on home ice.
The IIHF World Ranking is a tool to reflect the long-term quality of the countries’ national team program. The ranking system is based on awarding points for the final positions in the last four IIHF World Championships and for the last Olympic Ice Hockey Tournament.
The Pre-Championship World Ranking can be compared with a standing of 100-metre race after 75 meters, with only the points from the 2012 Worlds needed to be added for the 2012 final World Ranking.
The team that wins the IIHF World Championship or the Olympic gold medal receives 1200 points, the silver team receives 1160 while the bronze medallist gets 1120. In general, there is a 20-point difference between two ranked positions, with the exception of a 40-point difference between first and second place (recognizing first place), second and third (recognizing making it to the final), fourth and fifth (for making it to the semi-final) and also eighth and ninth (for making it to the quarter-final).
The system uses a four-year cycle and the points earned in one year decline linearly by 25 per cent within the next three years and in the fifth year the results are dropped from the calculation altogether.
In the 2012 Pre-Championship World Ranking, the ranking points from the 2011 Worlds have been deducted by 25%, 2010 Worlds and Olympics by 50%, 2009 Worlds by 75% while the points from the 2008 Worlds have been taken out completely.
Immediately following the Gold Medal game on May 20, the final 2012 IIHF Men’s World Ranking will be established and this will be the ranking which will determine the seeding for the 2014 Olympic Ice Hockey Tournament in Sochi, Russia, including the qualification process.
In the final 2012 IIHF World Ranking, the top nine countries will earn automatic entry to Sochi 2014. Click here for list of teams that have applied for 2014 Olympic participation and for the complete Olympic qualification process.
The 2012 IIHF World Championship may become a very exciting race for the last ranking positions which guarantee automatic entry to the Olympics, with only 50 points between teams placed 7th and 10th. Right now, Switzerland is 7th with 1990 ranking points, Germany 8th with 1985 while Norway holds the last 9th position with 1960 points. Slovakia, in 10th position, is only 20 points behind.
The World Ranking will not only determine the seeding for Sochi 2014, but also for the qualification process. The teams ranked 10th-12th will earn the right to host one of the three Final Olympic Qualification tournaments on home ice in February 2013. Apart from Slovakia – currently in 10th position – Belarus, Denmark and Latvia have good chances to end up in this range.
The 2012 IIHF Men’s World Ranking will also determine the two eight-team preliminary-round groups of the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Stockholm, Sweden, and Helsinki, Finland.