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The teams in the championship play a preliminary round, then the top eight teams play in the playoff medal round and the winning team is crowned World Champion.Over the years, the tournament has gone through several rule changes.

The United States, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, Great Britain and Switzerland were also competitive during this period.In the 2000s, the competition became more open as the "Big Six" teams – Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden, and the United States – as well as Slovakia and Switzerland have become more evenly matched.As this tournament takes place during the same period as the later stages of the NHL's Stanley Cup playoffs, many of the league's top players do not typically participate.The Ice Hockey World Championships are an annual international men's ice hockey tournament organized by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).First officially held at the 1920 Summer Olympics, it is the sport's highest profile annual international tournament.

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