In the middle of the 1970s, the reign of President Ahearne was already violently disputed. Since he enjoyed to run the federation just like his travel office as the "boss", there was growing opposition against him and against a further extension of his presidency.
At the 1975 congress in Gstaad, it happened at last. Ahearne wanted – once he realized that it would be a hopeless venture to run for re-election – to build, as his "legacy" to the federation, the Dutchman Fred Schweers up to head the federation. However, an opposition candidate presented himself in the person of the German Dr. Günther Sabetzki. Dr. Sabetzki came out on top already in the first ballot with the clear result of 36:16 votes, and a new era had begun in the international ice hockey. The almost two decades long lasting "era Sabetzki" was then not only the incomparably longest, but until then also the most successful period of the ice hockey in every respect, i.e. from the sports, the organizational as well as the economical point of view.
The first great success of the new president was Canada’s return to the official IIHF events. After the Canadians were refused the permission to enhance their world championship selection with professional players from those NHL teams that did not reach the play-off rounds of the North American professional championship (Stanley Cup), they refused to compete in the world championships as from 1970. The long, tenacious negotiations between Dr. Sabetzki and the top officials of the professional ice hockey resulted in a solution which was satisfactory for both parties: the Canadians and the Americans were allowed to enhance their world championship teams with professional players; in order to be able to achieve that most effectively, the world championships should in future take place as late as possible thus ensuring that a suitable player selection from among the NHL teams eliminated from the Stanley Cup would be available.
In their turn, the Canadians and Americans undertook to participate regularly in the world championships. In addition, they relinquished their application to host any world championship tournaments.
In return, a competition for the "Canada Cup" should be played every four years on North American territory with the participation of Canada, the United States and the four strongest European national teams according to the last preceding world championship with the understanding that all the teams would be allowed to use their NHL professional players. Between 1976 and 1991, the Canada Cup was played five times; in 1996 it was replaced by the newly created World Cup – with some modifications in the organization method.
Among the vice presidents of the last three decades, the Czech Ing. Miroslav Subrt set up a unique record: elected in 1969, he has been in that office to date. Besides, the ex-president William Thayer Tutt (1972–1986), the Canadian Gordon Renwick (1986–1994) and the American Walter Bush (since 1994) represented the North American continent as vice presidents in the leadership of the federation; in 1994, the Japanese Shoichi Tomita was elected vice president as the first representative of Asia.
The annual congresses as a rule continued to be held at the venue of the world championship or at least in the same country; exceptions were in 1972 Mamaia (Rumania), in 1975 Gstaad (Switzerland), in 1978 Sirmione (Italy), and in 1980 Stenungsund (Sweden). The general congresses with re-elections of the leadership of the federation were held every four years and took place in 1982 in Nice, in 1986 in Colorado Springs, in 1990 in St. Vincent/Aosta Valley, in 1994 in Venice, and in 1998 in Lausanne.