The International Ice Hockey Federation's most famous tournament featuring some of the best professional players in the world. The tournament is most popular in European countries as North American hockey fans are usually caught up in the Stanley Cup playoffs, which are taking place at the same time.
The World Hockey Championships most often take place in Europe in May. Some National Hockey League - NHL players will play in the tournament, but many of the best are unable to play because their NHL team is still playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Still, large European crowds fill the stands to watch what is an important tournament in that part of the world. NHLers who do not make the playoffs or who are eliminated can join the international teams.
The tournament was hosted on Canadian soil for the first time in 2008 in Quebec City and Halifax with Russia defeating Canada in the final. After that game, Russian star Alex Ovechkin dug a loonie out of centre ice to taunt the Canadian fans who planted it there in hopes of replicating the same luck a loonie supposedly brought to the 2002 Canadian Olympic team in Salt Lake City.