IIHF introduces new format for U18 and U20 tournaments.
For the first time since 2003, the IIHF Ice Hockey U18 and U20 World Championships will have a new competition format. There will be four teams from each group making the playoffs and playing traditional quarter-finals. This means there will no longer be a semi-final bye from the preliminary round winner.
The changes will be implemented for the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship in Sochi, Russia (18-28 April) and for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship in Malmö, Sweden.
The current format had three teams from the five-team preliminary round groups qualify for the playoffs. The winners from each group earned a bye into the semi-finals. The 2nd and 3rd place teams would then play in a quarterfinal round. The 4th and 5th place teams moved to the relegation round.
The new format will see the top four teams from each group qualify for cross-over quarter-final playoffs. The quarter-final round will be played according to the traditional IIHF cross-over format: A1 vs. B4, A2 vs. B3, B1 vs. A4, B2 vs. A3.
The losers of the quarter-finals will be ranked according to their preliminary-round placement and records.
The fifth and last placed teams from each group will now play a best-of-three, resulting in the losing team being relegated to Division I.
If the series goes full length, the tournament will play a total of 31 games which is the same number as the old format.