The 1991 Men's Ice Hockey World Championships was the 55th such event sanctioned by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), and at the same time served as the 66th and last Ice Hockey European Championships. Teams representing 25 countries participated in several levels of competition. The competition also served as qualifications for group placements in the 1992 competition.
|Dates||19 April – 4 May|
|Venue(s)||3 (in 3 host cities)|
|Champions||Sweden (5th title)|
|Third place||Soviet Union|
|Fourth place||United States|
|Goals scored||272 (6.8 per game)|
|Attendance||310,627 (7,766 per match)|
|Scoring leader(s)||Mats Sundin 14 points|
The top Championship Group A tournament took place in Finland from 19 April to 4 May 1991, with games played in Turku, Helsinki and Tampere. Eight teams took part, with each team playing each other once. The four best teams then played each other once more. Sweden became world champions for the fifth time, and the Soviet Union won their 27th European title. In the European Championships, only matches between European teams in the first round were counted towards scoring.
There were three significant 'lasts' in this year's championships. This would be the last year that a separate European title would be awarded, which the Soviets captured in their last appearance before the dissolution of the Soviet Union seven months later. Their position in Group A would be inherited by Russia, while newly independent former Soviet member states Belarus, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, and Ukraine began play in 1993 in qualification tournaments for Group C. The tournament itself would change significantly after this year as well. This was the last time the top level was contested by eight teams; beginning in 1992 it would expand to twelve, requiring both Groups B and C to promote four nations each.
The final round of four teams was a very tight battle, except for the United States. Getting only a tie against the last place Germans, the Americans only advanced to the final round by narrowly defeating the host Finns. The USA were easily defeated by the three other teams in the final round, but were involved in a controversial finish. The Canadians, having tied both the Swedes and the Soviets, needed to win their game against the US by five goals, then hope that the Swedes and Soviets tied, ensuring Canada the gold. Winning 7–4 in the final minute, and despite playing short-handed, they scored the two goals they needed. American coach Tim Taylor, trailing 9–4, pulled his goalie in the final minute, later claiming that he was trying to score the necessary number of goals to win the bronze medal. It was the last of many questionable finishes over the years that hastened the IIHF to change the format of the tournament.
The Soviets and Swedes took a 1–1 tie into the third period of the last game, which would have given the gold medal to Canada had it held up. However, Mats Sundin scored at 9:37, and the Swedes held on to capture gold.
World Championship Group A (Finland)Edit
|19 April||Canada||4–3||United States|
|19 April||Soviet Union||3–1||Switzerland|
|20 April||Germany||3–7||Soviet Union|
|20 April||United States||4–1||Czechoslovakia|
|22 April||Finland||0–3||Soviet Union|
|22 April||Sweden||4–4||United States|
|23 April||United States||2–12||Soviet Union|
|25 April||Switzerland||2–4||United States|
|25 April||Soviet Union||5–3||Canada|
|26 April||Germany||4–4||United States|
|26 April||Czechoslovakia||2–6||Soviet Union|
|28 April||Finland||1–2||United States|
|28 April||Soviet Union||5–5||Sweden|
|30 April||Soviet Union||6–4||United States|
|2 May||United States||4–8||Sweden|
|2 May||Canada||3–3||Soviet Union|
|4 May||United States||4–9||Canada|
|4 May||Sweden||2–1||Soviet Union|
No team was relegated because of the expansion to twelve teams.
World Championship Group B (Yugoslavia)Edit
Played in Ljubljana, Bled and Jesenice 28 March to 7 April. With the expansion of Group A impending, promotion was available to the top four finishers. As well, the top three qualified directly for the Olympics, with fourth place needing to defeat the winner of Group C.
Italy, Norway, France, and Poland all were promoted to Group A, no one was relegated.
World Championship Group C (Denmark)Edit
Played in Brøndby 23 March to 3 April. With the expansion of Group A, four openings in Group B were available. In addition, the winner got to play off for the last Olympic spot against the fourth place Group B finisher.
Denmark, China, Romania and Bulgaria were all promoted. With no Group D in existence at this time, there was no relegation.
|23 March||Denmark||15–1||South Korea|
|23 March||China||6–5||Great Britain|
|24 March||Great Britain||7–2||North Korea|
|25 March||South Korea||4–9||Hungary|
|25 March||Romania||7–2||North Korea|
|26 March||South Korea||7–2||Belgium|
|26 March||Denmark||3–2||Great Britain|
|27 March||Belgium||0–11||Great Britain|
|27 March||North Korea||2–3||China|
|28 March||Denmark||11–1||North Korea|
|28 March||Romania||11–3||South Korea|
|29 March||China||9–1||South Korea|
|29 March||Hungary||3–3||Great Britain|
|30 March||Belgium||0–12||North Korea|
|30 March||Great Britain||4–5||Bulgaria|
|31 March||South Korea||2–4||Bulgaria|
|31 March||North Korea||2–6||Hungary|
|1 April||Great Britain||7–1||South Korea|
|2 April||Romania||5–6||Great Britain|
|2 April||North Korea||1–1||Bulgaria|
|3 April||South Korea||0–7||North Korea|
Ranking and statisticsEdit
|1991 IIHF World Championship winners|
- Best players selected by the directorate:
- Best Goaltender: Markus Ketterer
- Best Defenceman: Jamie Macoun
- Best Forward: Valeri Kamensky
- Media All-Star Team:
- Goaltender: Sean Burke
- Defence: Viacheslav Fetisov, Alexei Kasatonov
- Forwards: Valeri Kamensky, Jari Kurri, Thomas Rundqvist
The final standings of the tournament according to IIHF:
European championships final standingsEdit
The final standings of the European championships according to IIHF:
List shows the top skaters sorted by points, then goals.
Only the top five goaltenders, based on save percentage, who have played 50% of their team's minutes are included in this list.
- Complete results
- Duplacey, James (1998). Total Hockey: The official encyclopedia of the National Hockey League. Total Sports. pp. 498–528. ISBN 0-8362-7114-9.
- Podnieks, Andrew (2010). IIHF Media Guide & Record Book 2011. Moydart Press. pp. 154–5.