IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship

IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship
SportInline hockey
 United States (2017)
Most titles United States (7 titles)
Official websiteIIHF.com

The IIHF Inline Hockey World Championships was an annual international men's inline hockey tournament organized by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). The first World Championship was held in 1996 in which eleven nations participated. In 2003, sixteen nations took part and were split into two divisions. The top eight teams played for the World Championship and the other eight played for the Division I title. The last format in use featured the World Championship, Division I and three regional qualification tournaments. The World Championship and Division I tournament were played on odd years and the qualification tournaments were played on even years. The United States was the tournament's most dominant team, winning the World Championship seven times. After 20 editions, the IIHF cancelled the tournament in June 2019.


The IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship is one of the youngest IIHF events, but one that has largely grown in importance since its inception in 1996. Inline hockey as a sport has grown rapidly since 1996 and now more nations than ever are fielding teams and the World Championship is becoming increasingly more competitive. During the first three years of the IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship, North American teams dominated the field. The United States and Canada finished in first and second place at each of the first three championships, in which the United States played host to each year.

In 1998, the format of the tournament changed and so, for the first time, did the gold medalist. The tournament was expanded to include two groups, one with the top eight teams in Anaheim, California and the other group, with the next eight nations, hosted in Bratislava, Slovakia. This was one of the earliest signs of inline hockey’s growing popularity around the globe. Canada upset the two-time world champion and hosts, Team USA, for the gold medal. The 2000 World Championship was the first true shift in the standings to Europe’s advantage. Finland finally upgraded its bronze medal and went home with the gold after defeating the hosts, the Czech Republic, in the final game. Team USA closed out the medal winners with a bronze medal. The 2000 World Championship also featured New Zealand and Chile in the world championship mix for the first time. Overall, the 2000 tournament had teams from four continents (North America, South America, Europe and Australia) represented.

In 2001, Finland won the gold medal for the second straight year, edging out the host again, this time, Team USA. The Czech Republic took home a medal for the second straight year, earning the bronze medal and again four continents were represented. In 2002, Sweden emerged from out of nowhere to win its first-ever medal, which proved to be gold. The highest the Swede’s had ever finished in the A Group was fifth and it was just Sweden’s third season in the top Group. That year, Germany gave the fans in Nurnberg something to cheer about, earning its first medal at the Inline Hockey World Championship, a bronze medal effort.

In 2003, it was Finland squeaking past Sweden in the final game, while Team USA returned to the podium, claiming the bronze medal. In 2010, USA won its fifth championship, first since 2006 and in 2012, Canada won its first championship since 1998. In July 2015 it was announced that the World Championships would be changed from an annual tournament to a biennial tournament.[1] The change means that three qualification tournaments will be held in the even years to earn promotion to Division I, starting in 2016, and the World Championships will be held in the odd years, starting in 2017.[1] The qualification tournaments have been restructured into three regions to lower travel costs with the regions now being Africa/South America, Asia/Oceania, and Europe/North America.[1] In January 2016 the IIHF announced that two of the qualification tournaments had been realigned with North America moving into the Africa/South America tournament to become Americas/Africa, leaving Europe to have its own qualification tournament.[2]

In June 2019 the IIHF announced that they would no longer govern inline hockey or organize the Inline Hockey World Championships.[3] The IIHF had earlier cancelled the 2019 edition of the tournament due to a lack of applications for hosting the event.[3]


The current format for the World Championships features 16 teams: 8 teams in the Top Division and 8 teams in Division I. If more than 16 teams wish to participate then qualification tournaments are held. In the Preliminary round the 16 teams are split into 4 groups (Groups A through D) with Groups A and B forming the Top Division, and the Groups C and D forming Division I. The teams play each other in a round robin format, and then all teams proceed to the quarterfinals. Single game elimination rounds are played to establish 1st through 8th place.

The IIHF consists of two tournaments. The Top Division tournament is the main one and below that is the Division I tournament. At the end of the tournament the best seven teams of the Top Division and the winner of Division I will be qualified for the next IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship Top Division. The last-placed team of the Top Division will be relegated to the next IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship Division I. Additionally, the bottom three placed teams in Division I are relegated to the Qualification tournaments which are split into the three regions of Africa / South America, Asia / Oceania, and Europe / North America.[1] The winners of the Qualification tournaments will gain promotion to the next Division I tournament.[1]

The ranking of the groups is based according to the result of the last World Championships performance of the respective countries in the IIHF Inline Hockey Program and the qualification rounds. All games in the preliminary round and in the playoffs will be played with 5-minute sudden-death overtime and a penalty shootout in case of a tie. The final games will be played with a 12- minute sudden-death overtime, followed by a penalty shootout competition in case of a tie.


The last format of the IIHF Inline Hockey World Championships involved the Top Division and Division I playing on odd years and three regional qualification tournaments playing on even years. The regional qualification tournaments were Americas/Africa, Asia/Oceania and Europe.[2] For a full list of IIHF members, see List of members of the International Ice Hockey Federation.

Top Division and Division I[edit]

The Top Division comprised the top eight inline hockey nations in the world, split into Groups A and B. Division I comprised eight teams, split into Groups C and D.

Team Appearances Debut Most recent Best result
 Argentina 12 1998 2017 12th (2001, 2015)
 Australia 19 1996 2017 9th (2000)
 Austria 19 1996 2015 4th (2007)
 Belgium 2 2002 2004 15th (2002, 2004)
 Brazil 13 2000 2017 8th (2001)
 Bulgaria 4 2008 2015 16th (2008, 2012, 2013, 2015)
 Canada 12 1996 2017 1st (1998, 2012, 2015)
 Chile 2 2000 2002 14th (2000)
 Chinese Taipei 2 2005 2009 15th (2009)
 Croatia 8 2006 2017 8th (2017)
 Czechoslovakia 2 1996 1997 5th (1997)
 Czech Republic 18 1998 2017 1st (2011)
 Finland 20 1996 2017 1st (2000, 2001, 2003, 2014)
 Germany 20 1996 2017 2nd (2012)
 Great Britain 16 1998 2017 8th (2012, 2014)
 Hungary 17 2000 2017 9th (2001, 2002, 2005)
 Italy 3 1996 1998 7th (1996, 1998)
 Japan 15 1996 2014 9th (2003)
 Latvia 3 2014 2017 10th (2017)
 Namibia 3 2005 2007 13th (2006)
 Netherlands 3 1997 2000 8th (2000)
 New Zealand 10 2000 2017 10th (2007)
 Portugal 1 2005 2005 15th (2005)
 Russia 3 1996 1998 4th (1997)
 Slovakia 18 2000 2017 2nd (2008)
 Slovenia 15 2002 2017 4th (2012)
 South Africa 4 2003 2011 16th (2003, 2007, 2009, 2011)
 Sweden 18 1998 2017 1st (2002, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009)
  Switzerland 3 1996 1998 3rd (1997)
 United States 20 1996 2017 1st (1996, 1997, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2013, 2017)

Qualification tournaments[edit]

The IIHF ran regional qualification tournaments in the year prior to the World Championship. The winner of each tournament qualified for a place in the Division I tournament. The last regional qualification tournaments to be used were Americas/Africa, Asia/Oceania and Europe.


  • A: African Qualification tournament
  • AO: Qualification Asia/Oceania tournament
  • E: Qualification Europe tournament
  • ROTW: Rest of the World Qualification tournament
Team Appearances Debut Most recent Best result
 Argentina 2 2013 ROTW 2015 ROTW 1st (2013 ROTW, 2015 ROTW)
 Austria 1 2016 E 2016 E 2nd (2016 E)
 Belgium 1 2016 E 2016 E 6th (2016 E)
 Brazil 1 2013 ROTW 2013 ROTW 2nd (2013 ROTW)
 Bulgaria 5 2010 E 2016 E 1st (2012 E, 2013 E, 2015 E)
 Chile 1 2015 ROTW 2015 ROTW 3rd (2015 ROTW)
 Chinese Taipei 2 2012 ROTW 2016 AO 2nd (2012 ROTW)
 Croatia 1 2010 E 2010 E 1st (2010 E)
 Hong Kong 1 2015 ROTW 2015 ROTW 2nd (2015 ROTW)
 India 1 2016 AO 2016 AO 4th (2016 AO)
 Ireland 1 2014 E 2014 E 2nd (2014 E)
 Israel 3 2010 E 2016 E 2nd (2015 E)
 Japan 1 2016 AO 2016 AO 2nd (2016 AO)
 Latvia 3 2013 E 2016 E 1st (2014 E, 2016 E)
 Macedonia 5 2012 E 2016 E 3rd (2012 E, 2014 E)
 Namibia 2 2009 A 2011 A 2nd (2009 A, 2011 A)
 New Zealand 2 2012 ROTW 2016 AO 1st (2012 ROTW, 2016 AO)
 Serbia 2 2015 E 2016 E 3rd (2015 E)
 South Africa 3 2009 A 2012 ROTW 1st (2009 A, 2011A)
 Turkey 4 2010 E 2016 E 2nd (2012 E)


  1. ^ a b c d e Merk, Martin (2015-07-08). "Next Worlds in Bratislava". International Ice Hockey Federation. Archived from the original on 2015-07-12. Retrieved 2015-07-12.
  2. ^ a b "Inline Hockey qualification". International Ice Hockey Federation. 2016-01-29. Archived from the original on 2016-01-31. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  3. ^ a b Merk, Martin (2019-06-24). "Statutes, Regulations amended". International Ice Hockey Federation. Archived from the original on 2019-06-27. Retrieved 2019-06-27.

External links[edit]