QUEBEC CITY, Canada – The 2008 IIHF World Championship in Canada (Quebec City & Halifax, May 2-18) will feature four major changes from the previous years: 1. New quarter-final format, 2. New relegation format, 3. Smaller rinks and different zone proportions and 4. Two-man referee system.
- The quarter-final format: There will be no “cross-over” quarter-finals in Canada 2008 as the teams will play the quarter-finals within the two qualifying round groups. So whereas earlier the winner in one group played the fourth team in the other group, the number one team in the Quebec City and Halifax qualifying rounds will play the fourth team from the same group. The second placed team will play the third placed team in the same group.
- Relegation: The previous four-team relegation round-robin is replaced by two best-of-three relegation series, for the teams that finish fourth in the four preliminary round groups. The two last-placed teams in the two Quebec City groups (4A vs. 4D) as well as the two last-placed teams in the two Halifax groups (4B vs. 4C) will be paired. The third game will only be played if necessary. The losing teams will be relegated to the Division I-level of the IIHF World Championships.
Already promoted to the 2009 IIHF World Championship in Switzerland are Austria and Hungary.
- For the first time since 1962 in Colorado Springs will a men’s IIHF World Championship be played on North American sized rinks (60 x 26 metres as opposed to international size 60 x 30) in Halifax and Quebec City. Click here for an IIHF vs. NHL rink comparison chart (click to chart to enlarge) and here for a full explanation behind the decision to stay with the existing zone sizes in Quebec City and Halifax.
- All 56 games will be officiated with the four-man system; two referees and two linesmen.