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IIHF - International Ice Hockey Federation

iihf-logo1 iihf-logo2 The true birthday of ice hockey may not be told ever. Different games played on ice, were known in the middle of the 19th century (shinney, hurling, bandy). The first ever ice hockey game is documented on Mar 03, 1875, in Montreal. In 1877, the Canadians cut a slice out of a rubber ball: the puck was born, the most important invention in ice hockey. Few years later, quite a number of teams played ice hockey but still only in Canada.
Canadians and Britains living in Canada brought forward the game via Great Britain to Europe. First clubs in Europe were Prince's Club London and Cercle des Patineurs Paris. In the years to follow, more and more clubs appeared. First international games were played. National associations were founded, and national championships were set up.
Upon invitation of French journalist Louis Magnus, officials from Belgium, France, Great Britain, and Switzerland constituted Ligue International de Hockey sur Glace (LIHG). At the second congress in 1909 LIHG decided to organize yearly European championships and adopted the Canadian rules at their 4th congress in 1911. First World War interrupted all sports activities. LIHG reorganized with its first post war congress on occasion of the Olympic Games in 1920.
During these Olympic Games, ice hockey also was played as an Olympic sport for the first time (later to be considered the first World Championship, too). Since inaugural Winter Games in 1924, the sport has been appearing at all times. The first separate World Championship took place in 1930 in Chamonix. World War II ended all activities once again until 1946. The next few years were overshadowed by a strange crisis concerning the relationship between LIHG and IOC. In 1946, US amateur ice hockey split between Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and Amateur Hockey Association (AHA). While a united AAU/AHA team took part in the World Championship in 1947, parallel congress decided to recognize only AHA; AAU on the other hand being the one federation recognized by the National Olympic Committee of the US. At the 1948 Olympics, two ice hockey teams arrived in St. Moritz. LIHG insisted on participation of AHA, but IOC disqualified the AHA team. All results were annulled. Crisis culminated in breaking off all relations between IOC and LIHG in 1949. Fortunately, LIHG reconciled to IOC in 1951. Until today, this was the only main conflict between IIHF and IOC.
In these years, the international federation had adopted the English name International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).
In 1966, the European Cup for clubs was introduced, and two years later a European Junior Championship started. In 1975, the first World Junior Championship was held.
Canada was about to organize the World Championship of 1970 while IIHF had decided to open this competition to a limited number of professional players. But at the congress in July 1969, the federation stopped these plans. As a reaction, Canada did not take part in the World Championship until 1977 (first limited "open" World Championship). Also, IIHF and most important professional league NHL negotiated their relationship. A part of the agreement with NHL was the introduction of the Canada Cup - a completely open competition for Canada, USA, and top four European teams to take place every 4 years in North America.
After affiliation of many Asian federations, special Asian/ Oceania championships were set up in the 1980s.
(Excerpt of "International Ice Hockey Encyclopedia 1904 - 2012" by the same author)

Member federations
1912: 11 member federations
1930: 17 member federations
1940: 24 member federations
1980: 31 member federations
2000: 58 member federations
2022: 83 member federations


16.05.1908 - 23.03.1912 Louis Magnus FRA
23.03.1912 - 25.02.1914 Henri van den Bulcke BEL
25.02.1914 Louis Magnus FRA
25.02.1914 Bethune Minet "Peter" Patton GBR
25.02.1914 - 26.04.1920 Henri van den Bulcke BEL
26.04.1920 - 15.02.1922 Max Sillig SUI
15.02.1922 - 23.02.1947 Paul Loicq BEL
23.02.1947 - 25.07.1948 Dr. Fritz Kraatz SUI
25.07.1948 - 28.08.1951 George Hardy CAN
28.08.1951 - 28.08.1954 Dr. Fritz Kraatz SUI
28.08.1954 - 14.07.1957 Walter A. Brown USA
14.07.1957 - 30.07.1960 John Francis "Bunny" Ahearne GBR
30.07.1960 - 14.08.1963 Robert LeBel CAN
14.08.1963 - 04.09.1966 John Francis "Bunny" Ahearne GBR
04.09.1966 - 12.07.1969 William Thayer Tutt USA
12.07.1969 - 26.07.1975 John Francis "Bunny" Ahearne GBR
26.07.1975 - 11.06.1994 Dr. Günther Sabetzki FRG/GER
11.06.1994 - 25.09.2021 René Fasel SUI
25.09.2021 - Luc Tardif FRA

Secretaries General

16.05.1908 - 23.03.1912 Robert Planque FRA
23.03.1912 - 26.04.1920 Roger van den Straten-Ponthoz BEL
26.04.1920 - 15.02.1922 Louis Dufour SUI
15.02.1922 - 10.01.1925 Fred Bandelin BEL
10.01.1925 - 23.02.1947 Andre G. Poplimont BEL
23.02.1947 - 14.07.1957 John Francis "Bunny" Ahearne GBR
14.07.1957 - 26.07.1975 ---
26.07.1975 - 10.06.1986 Walter Wasservogel AUT
10.06.1986 - 31.10.2006 Jan-Åke Edvinsson SWE
01.11.2006 - 22.07.2021 Horst Lichtner GER
22.07.2021 - 13.06.2022 Gion Veraguth SUI, ad interim
13.06.2022 - Matti Nurminen FIN

Last modified: 07.12.2022