Basic tournament rules for the 2004 IIHF World Championship



  • The 16 teams are divided into four groups in the Preliminary Round.
  • After a single round-robin series in each group, the top three teams from each group advance to the Qualification Round while the fourth placed team in each group moves to the Relegation Round.
  • The Qualification Round consists of two groups with six teams in each, playing a single round robin series. These teams carry forward the points gained in the Preliminary Round with the teams that they have played and advance with. Teams, which have played in the Preliminary Round, do not meet again in the Qualification Round.
  • At the conclusion of the Qualification Round, the top four teams in each group play crossover Quarter Finals against teams from the other group of the Qualification Round.
  • In the Quarter Finals, the first placed team in one group plays the fourth placed team in the other group, while the second placed team in one group plays the third placed team in the other group, etc. The winning teams in the Quarter Finals advance to the Semi Finals.
  • The winning teams of the two Semi Final match-ups advance to play in the Gold Medal Game while the Semi Final losing teams play in the Bronze Medal Game.


Relegation format:


  • The four teams participating in the Relegation Round play a single round robin series. The two teams which finish first and second at the conclusion of this round will be promoted to the 2005 IIHF World Championship in Austria, while the teams which finish third and fourth are relegated to Division I.



Tie breaking formula:


  • If two teams are tied on equality of points in the standings, the following tie breaking criteria applies:
1. Head-to-head (mutual) games between the teams concerned.
2. Goal differential.
3. Higher number of goals scored for.
4. Game Winning Shots competition between the teams concerned.
  • If three or more teams have the same number of points in the group, then their ranking shall be determined by higher number of points in a special standing composed just from the results of their head-to-head (mutual) games. If the number of points is equal between the three or more teams in this special standing just from the results of their head-to-head (mutual) games, than the same tie breaking criteria as above applies.
Overtime procedure:
  • In case of a tie at the conclusion of regulation time in a Quarter Final, Semi Final and Bronze Medal Game, there will be a 10-minute sudden death overtime period played. In the Gold Medal game there will be a 20-minute sudden death overtime period. The team, which scores a goal during this period is declared winner.
  • All Sudden Death Overtime periods are played with four skaters on four.
  • In case no goal is scored during the Sudden Death Overtime, there will be Game Winning Shot (GWS) competition (“penalty shoot-out”). Each team must select five shooters to compete in the GWS competition. If the score is still tied after the teams have had five attempts each, the teams continue to shoot in pairings until the shooter of one team misses and the shooter of the other team scores.