IIHF introduces new award
by Andrew Podnieks|16 APR 2023
The new awards will honour one male player and one female player every year for great play in both IIHF events and domestic leagues.
photo: IIHF
The IIHF announced today the creation of a new international hockey trophy—the IIHF Player of the Year Award for both men and women. The first winners will be announced in early June. 

“This is an exciting initiative that we have been working on for quite some time,” president Luc Tardif said of the new honour celebrating hockey excellence at the highest level. “We believe these awards are important because hockey is an international game played across many nations, but there is no honour to celebrate the achievements of the very best,” Tardif continued. 

The trophy will be awarded annually to the players who best exemplify skill, determination, team success, and sporting character on and off the ice during the preceding season.

The criteria are simple. Players must have competed in at least one IIHF tournament at any level during the year (Olympics, World Championship, U20, or U18 event) as well as in a domestic league of the highest calibre for that country. The combined performances of the two will determine the winners.

The awards will be voted on by members of the media and appropriate members of the IIHF family. Media will account for 70% of the vote while IIHF Family voting will constitute the other 30%. 

There will be more than 50 media voting. There will be one media group who specialize in women’s international hockey and will vote for that winner, and another media group who specialize in men’s international hockey. These writers will represent all forms of journalism (TV, radio, print, social media) and will come from all nations in the top level of play (16 teams on the men’s side, 10 teams on the women’s side) and Division I-A (six teams in each) of the men’s and women’s senior IIHF program. In the future, the plan is to engage fans as part of the voting, but for now voting will be carried out by these two groups.

The voting will proceed as follows. The IIHF’s Historical Committee will meet in the coming weeks to discuss potential candidates. They will then provide all voters a short list of six names for men and six for women. Voters will choose only one of these, or they can write-in a nominee of their choosing. Ballots will be added up to determine which candidate has received the most votes.

The winners will be announced in early June, and they will be presented with their trophy by an IIHF delegate at the earliest possible time. The IIHF Player of the Year awards will be on permanent display at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, while the recipients will receive a smaller version for their mantle.