Tournament Format

The 16 teams are divided into two groups for the Preliminary Round.

The top-four ranked teams of each group advance to the quarter-finals that will be played cross-over. The first-place team in each preliminary-round group plays the fourth-place team of the other group, while the second-place team plays the third-place team of the other group. 1A-4B, 2A-3B, 1B-4A, 2B-3A. The winning teams advance to the semi-finals.


Both semi-final games will be played in Copenhagen.

The winning teams of the semi-final games advance to the gold medal game while the semi-final losing teams play for bronze.

Relegation format

The overall bottom ranked two teams will be relegated to the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A.

The teams promoted to the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship will be the top-two teams of the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A.

Three Point System

For all games points shall be awarded as follows:

  • 3 points for the winning team at the conclusion of regulation time
  • 1 point for both teams at the conclusion of regulation time if the game is tied
  • An additional point earned for the team winning the game in a 5-minute overtime period, or the Penalty-Shot Shootout if the teams are still tied following conclusion of the overtime period
  • 0 points for the team losing the game in regulation time

Overtime Operations

If a game is tied at the end of regulation time, a five-minute overtime period shall be played. The teams will not change ends for the overtime period. The game will end when the five minutes has expired or when a goal is scored; the scoring team will be declared the winner. If no goal is scored in the overtime period then the Penalty-Shot Shootout Procedure will apply. All overtime periods of any IIHF game shall be played with each team at the numerical strength of three (3) skaters and one (1) goalkeeper for games of the preliminary round.

Overtime procedure in Play-Off Games:

  • In case of a tie at the conclusion of regulation time in a Relegation Playoff, Placement Playoff, Quarter Final, Semi Final and Bronze Medal Game, there will be a 10-minute sudden-death overtime period played.
  • The teams will not change ends.
  • The overtime period shall be played with each team at the numerical strength of four (4) skaters and one (1) goalkeeper.
  • The team, which scores a goal during this period is the winner.
  • In the Gold Medal game there will be a 20-minute sudden-death overtime period, following a 15-minute intermission during which the ice will be resurfaced.
  • The teams will not change ends.
  • The overtime period shall be played with each team at the numerical strength of four (4) skaters and one (1) goalkeeper.
  • The team which scores a goal during this period is declared winner.
  • If no goal is scored during the sudden-death overtime, there will be Penalty-Shot Shootout (PSS) according to the Penalty-Shot Shootout Procedure.

Penalty-Shot Shootout Procedure

If no goal is scored in the overtime period then the Penalty-Shot Shootout (PSS) procedure will apply. The following procedure will be utilized:

  • Five different shooters from each team will take alternate shots, until a decisive goal is scored.
  • If the game is still tied after five shots by each team, the PSS will continue with a tie-break shoot out by one player of each team, with a reversed shooting order. The same or new players can take the tie-break shots.
  • The same player can also be used for each shot by a team in the tie-break shoot-out.
  • Only the decisive goal will count in the result of the game.
  • Shots will be taken at both ends of the ice. The area of the ice to be used will be dry scraped.
  • A coin toss will determine which team takes the first shot, with the winner of the toss having the choice whether his team will shoot first or second.
  • Any player whose penalty was not over when overtime ended cannot take the shots and must stay in the penalty box or in the dressing room.
  • The goalkeepers will defend the same goal, as in the overtime period. The goalkeepers from each team may be changed after each shot.
  • The players of both teams will take the shots alternately until a decisive goal is scored.
  • The decisive goal will be credited to the player who scored and to the goalkeeper concerned.

Tie breaking formula

The tie-breaking system for two teams with the same number of points in a standing will be the game between the two teams, the winner of the game taking precedence. 

Due to the fact that the three-point system does not allow a game to end in a tie, then the following tie breaking procedure is applicable when three or more teams are tied in points in a Championship standing.

Should three or more teams be tied on points, then a tie breaking formula will be applied as follows, creating a sub-group amongst the tied teams. This process will continue until only two or none of the teams remain tied. In the case of two tied teams remaining, the game between the two would then be the determining tie-breaker as the game could not end as a tie. In the case of none of the teams being tied, the criteria specified in the respective step applies.

Step 1: Taking into consideration the games between each of the tied teams, a sub-group is created applying the points awarded in the direct games amongst the tied teams from which the teams are then ranked accordingly.

Step 2: Should three or more teams still remain tied in points then the better goal difference in the direct games amongst the tied teams will be decisive. 

Step 3: Should three or more teams still remain tied in points and goal difference then the highest number of goals scored by these teams in their direct games will be decisive

Step 4: Should three or more teams still remain tied in points, goal difference and goals scored then the results between each of the three teams and the closest best-ranked team outside the sub-group will be applied. In this case the tied team with the best result (1. points, 2. goal difference, 3. more goals scored) against the closest best ranked-team will take precedence

Step 5: Should the teams still remain tied, then the results between each of the three teams and the next highest best-ranked team outside the sub-group will be applied.

Step 6: Should the teams still remain tied after these five steps have been exercised then Sport considerations will be applied and the teams will be ranked by their positions coming into the Championship (seeding).

Final Ranking

The gold medal game and bronze medal game will determine the final ranking for the top-4 teams. The eliminated teams from the preliminary round plus the losing teams of the quarter-finals will be ranked following their positions in the groups preceding the quarter-final round.

The final ranking will follow the following procedure:
1. Higher position in the group,
2. Higher number of points,
3. Better goal difference,
4. Higher number of goals scored for,
5. Better seeding number

More information

Click here to download the IIHF’s Rule Book and Sport Regulations.