The number of IIHF member associations increased continuously during the 1980s and 90s, and the magic mark "50" was topped. There were two reasons for this increase: on the one hand, the ice hockey sport was expanding on a global scale, on the other, political events, namely the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia as well as the partition of Czechoslovakia, had their repercussions on the sport. The membership rights of the Soviet Union rolled over to Russia, the associations of Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan were created after those countries declared independence. The membership of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania dating back to the 1930s, which had expired after the annexation of these countries by the Soviet Union in 1940 and 1945 respectively, was renewed after their sovereignty was re-established. The membership of Yugoslavia remains limited to Serbia, after Croatia and Slovenia were split off. The ice hockey associations of Croatia and Slovenia were accepted as new independent IIHF members; the same applies to Slovakia, after this part split off from Czechoslovakia on December 31, 1992. The membership rights of Czechoslovakia rolled over to the Czech Republic. The remarkable power in performance among the new associations was demonstrated by the fact that Belarus, Slovakia, Latvia, and Kazakstan succeeded, within just a few years, to reach the top World Championship division.
The new members which joined the IIHF during the last 15 years due to the global expansion of ice hockey included: from Europe – Greece (1987), Iceland (1992), Andorra (1995), and Ireland (1996), from Latin America Brazil (1984) and Mexico (1985), from the Near East Kuwait (1986), Israel (1991), and Turkey (1991), as well as from the Far East Chinese Taipei (1983), Hongkong (1983), Thailand (1989), India (1989), and finally Singapore (1996).
Argentina (South America) and Namibia (Africa) joined in 1998. Going into the 2003 General Congress in Marbella, Spain, the IIHF had 63 member national federations with Macedonia and Liechtenstein joining. Macau (2005) and Malaysia (2006), Moldova (2008) and Georgia (2009) were added later. The most recent member was added at the 2010 Annual Congress when Morocco became the 69th IIHF member nation.