RIGA, Latvia – May 19, 2006
Everybody involved knew that the proposal was coming, but it was formally approved by the IIHF Annual Congress at the end of the 2006 World Championship. With one question to the Congress delegates followed by a unanimous 'yes' in reply, tie games in IIHF competition were gone and the 'three-point system' was in. From now on, the regulation-time winner would receive three points in the standings; the overtime (either in sudden death or shootout) winner would earn two points; and, the OT loser would get one point.
The decision not only had implications on the games, it also ensured a busy off-season at the IIHF office in Zurich where the federation's Hydra statistical system had to be re-programmed in order for it to understand how to distribute the points when registering a score. The traditional W-T-L columns in the standings had to be restructured into W-OTW-OTL-L.
The first top-level IIHF tournament under the new system was the 2007 World U20 Championship in Sweden. The traditionalists who had been critical of the rule change, however, may have had second thoughts after opening game of the tournament. Under the old system, Germany and USA would have left the ice at Leksand's Ejendals Arena after the 1-1-tie. But in 2007, a tie meant five minutes of overtime and the further possibility of a shootout. The Germans were celebrating after the 60 minutes of regulation play because the point they were guaranteed in the standings was more than they anticipated against a strong American team. But Marcel Muller made full use of the opportunity for the extra point by scoring 1:51 into the short fourth period to earn the Germans a second point. The hockey world breathed a sigh of relief when the statistical system correctly distributed the three points; Germany 2, USA 1. The three-point system got off to a perfect start--at least as far as the computer system and the German national junior team were concerned.
As part of the IIHF's 100th anniversary celebrations, www.IIHF.com is featuring the 100 top international hockey stories from the past century (1908-2008). Starting now and continuing through the 2008 IIHF World Championships in Canada, we will bring you approximately three stories a week counting down from Number 100 to Number 11.
The Final Top 10 Countdown will be one of the highlights of the IIHF's Centennial Gala Evening in Quebec City on May 17, the day prior to the Gold Medal Game of the 2008 World Championship.
These are the criteria for inclusion on this list: First, the story has to have had a considerable influence on international hockey. Second, it has to have had either a major immediate impact or a long-lasting significance on the game. Third, although it doesn't necessarily have to be about top players, the story does have to pertain to the highest level of play, notably Olympics, World Championships, and the like. The story can be about a single moment — a goal, a great save, a referee's call — or about an historic event of longer duration — a game, series, tournament, or rule change.