The IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship is the biggest annual winter sports event worldwide.
In 2012 a new championship format will be introduced and 16 teams will play in two preliminary round groups with eight teams in each, using the IIHF World Ranking for seeding. This means that each team will play seven preliminary round games against beforehand known opposition.
The dates of the tournament are 4-20 May. Preliminary rounds will be played in Helsinki (Finland) and Stockholm (Sweden).
The top four teams in each preliminary round group will advance to the quarterfinals. The teams that finish last in each group will be relegated to Division I. Teams placed 5-8 will have no more games.
Quarterfinals will be played within the groups meaning the teams will not need to travel from one country to the other to play the quarterfinal game.
The cross-over system will be implemented as of the semi-finals which will be played in Helsinki. Medal games will be played in Helsinki as well.
The total number of games played in 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship will be 64. The two top teams will have to play ten games to reach the final.