At the 2019 IIHF Annual Congress an amendment of the IIHF Sport Regulation will be proposed for all IIHF events to change the playoff format as follows:
The semi-final pairings will be formed based on the overall ranking of the preliminary round according to the team seeding regulation comparing 1) the position in the group, 2) number of points, 3) goal difference, 4) number of goals scored and 5) better seeding number entering the tournament. The highest ranked team will play the lowest ranked team making the semi-finals while the second-highest ranked semi-finalist will play the third-highest ranked semi-finalist.
That means the semi-final pairings may not necessarily be set up according to a classic playoff tree if lower-seeded teams advance. For example, if the 7th-seeded team beats the 2nd-seeded team in the quarter-finals, it will play the top-seeded team in the semi-finals if qualified.
While Congress will vote on this for the upcoming season, the representatives of the 16 teams approved to apply the new semi-final seeding procedure already for the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship at the Directorate Meeting.
Teams also confirmed the proposal to have sudden-death overtime in the gold medal games (3-on-3 in periods of 20 minutes) and not use the penalty-shot shootout for the gold medal game anymore.
Click here for more information on the Tournament Format.