The IIHF has decided that all IIHF sanctioned events in North America from 2008 to 2012 will use NHL-sized rinks. These events will also use NHL markings on the ice to compensate for the loss of ice surfaces.
For those who don't know, the NHL ice surface is the same length (200 feet) but is 15 feet skinner (85 feet) compared to international ice surfaces (100 feet). Also, International hockey rinks generally have longer center ice surfaces and smaller offensive zones. The only thing that's making the crossover is the trapezoid behind the net and the shape of the goalie's crease.
The affected tournaments are as follows:
- The 2008 IIHF World Championship (Quebec City, QC & Halifax, NS May 2-18)
- The 2009 IIHF World U20 Championship (Ottawa, ON, date to be determined)
- The 2009 IIHF World U18 Championship (American city & date to be determined)
- The 2010 IIHF World U20 Championship (Canadian city and date to be determined)
- The 2010 Olympic Winter Games (Vancouver, BC Feb. 12-28)
- The 2011 IIHF World U20 Championship (American city and date to be determined)
- The 2012 IIHF World Women Championship (American city and date to be determined)
With that said, will this become the norm for all international hockey events? Somehow I can see the European teams complaining about the smaller sized rinks.
In other words, the Canadians and Americans won't have the larger ice surface as an excuse for the next four upcoming years. Whether or not this would actually give the Americans or Canadians an advantage is unknown, but you can bet their respective coaches will use this size difference to their advantage when drawing up plays!