1946-1956

One year after the end of the war, on 27 April 1946, the delegates of the LIHG member associations met in Brussels for the first time after seven years to hold a congress. Japan and Germany were expelled from the federation; the membership of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania was declared expired because of the annexation of the Baltic states by the Soviet Union.

 

Austria, which had been dropped from the membership list in 1939 after its "affiliation" to Germany, could recover its membership rights after regaining official recognition. Denmark was added as a new member of the federation.

 

Prague was in February 1947 the venue of the first world championship after World War II. Despite the absence of the record champion Canada, the event was a great success, particularly because of the enthusiasm of the local audience, who had always been avid ice hockey fans and who eventually drove their favourites to victory and title. At the LIHG congress which was held at the same time, president Paul Loicq resigned after having been in office for 25 years, his successor was the Swiss former international Dr. Fritz Kraatz, a dentist from Davos. Since in 1946 and 1947 a second congress within one year was held each time in Zurich, the rotational congress of 1948 was then also held in Zurich. It was there and in the Olympic ice hockey scene of St. Moritz where an inscrutable spectacle went on by which the LIHG and even more the International Olympic Committee plunged into a serious crisis. The issue was nothing else than the "legitimate" representation of the USA at the Olympic ice hockey tournament. The Americans had sent two different teams to Switzerland: a selection of the LIHG affiliated Amateur Hockey Association of the United States (AHAUS) as well as a representation of the USOC approved Amateur Hockey Association (AAU). The AHAUS team had been unchallenged as USA representative at the world championship in the preceding year, however, the president of the American Olympic Committee, Avery Brundage, was on the other side. To him, the Winter Olympic Games were a thorn in his side anyway, and in this case he caught sight of the point of departure to throw a spanner into the works. He threatened with non-participation of all the athletes from his country at the Winter Games if "his" AAU team should be refused permission to participate.

 

At the opening ceremony, the LIHG recognized team from AHAUS marched into the arena and subsequently also appeared on the ice. Luckily – one can not put it in other words – the US boys missed the medal rounds, because then the later revenge of Avery Brundage, who at first was the losing party, was successful; the results achieved in the sports competition by his countrymen were cancelled and the ice hockey team of USA crossed off the standing.
Already at the Zurich congress in 1948, president Dr. Kraatz was succeeded by the Canadian university professor George Hardy, who was replaced after three years again by his predecessor. During the second office term of Dr. Kraatz (1951–1954), the outstanding events were the readmission of Germany and Japan as well as the new admission of the Soviet Union who, in seclusion from the international events, had worked their way forward towards the same level as the top of the world. Already in 1954, when they first officially appeared in Stockholm, they were decorated with the title of world champion. The admission of the German Democratic Republic in 1956 closed for almost one decade the circle of the members, to count now 25.

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