The IIHF World Ranking is a list published by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) annually that ranks all of its member countries in term of performance of their national teams.
The first such ranking was issued in 2003.
The ranking systemEdit
An Olympic gold medal and a World Championship title are worth as many points, id est 1,200. There is a 20 points interval between most of each position in the standings with 40 point intervals between 1st and 2nd, 2nd and 3rd, 4th and 5th, and 8th and 9th. Thus the team ranked second earns 1,160 points, third 1,120, fourteenth 860, fifteenth 840 and so on. The Olympic tournament and World Championships always have the same value; therefore, teams taking part in the Olympic tournament can earn as much as twice as many points as they would have if they didn't participate.
As mentioned earlier, the last four years of competitions are taken into account. Therefore, the final standing of a national team in the last four years of competition affects its ranking for all of that time; however, the further back in time the competition was held, the fewer points it is worth in the IIHF ranking calculation. Points received for a particular tournament decrease by 25% for every year that has passed since it took place. Therefore, a gold medal won at the 2006 Olympics that was worth 1,200 points in the 2006 IIHF World Ranking calculation was only worth 900 points in the 2007 calculation, 600 in the 2008, will be worth 300 in the 2009 and will not count at all in the calculation for the 2010 IIHF World Ranking.
So, in order to calculate the number of points of any given team for any given year, the general formula would be as follows:
Points = (0.25xWC1 + 0.5xWC2 + 0.75xWC3 + WC4) + yOG
- WC1 being the points awarded for the standings of the oldest World Championship;
- WC4 being the points awarded for the standings of the most recent World Championship and
- y being a variable worth either 0.25, 0.5, 0.75 or 1, depending on wether the last Olympic tournament was held respectively 4, 3, 2 or 1 years ago.
The current method to establish the rankings has received some criticism, chiefly because it gives as much weight to the World Championship as the Olympics and because it ignores other national teams tournaments such as the World Cup. The main argument behind this criticism is that in the World Championships, the best NHL players aren't necessarily playing, as many are still taking part in the Stanley Cup playoffs, while they are taking part in the Olympics and in the World Cup (when the latter is held).
Those rankings primary use is to determine the seedings of teams for the next World Championship and to select the teams that earn a place in the next Winter Olympics without needing to qualify beforehand. For the 2010 Olympics, the nine top teams of the 2009 IIHF World Ranking will automatically qualify for a spot in the Olympic tournament; for the women, it is the six best that gain automatic qualification.