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World Junior Championship Discuss international tournaments such as the World Juniors, Olympic hockey, and Ice Hockey World Championships, as they take place; or discuss past tournaments.

Why is it so hard for a host nation to win an IIHF tournament?

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01-04-2013, 01:04 AM
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Mr Kanadensisk
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Why is it so hard for a host nation to win an IIHF tournament?

I did some number crunching a couple of years ago and found that on average in an IIHF tournament the host team actually places higher in the tournament the year before and the year after than they do in the year they are the hosts. This seems to disprove the myth that the host nation has an advantage in an international hockey tournament, in fact it appears they actually have a disadvantage.

Here are some other facts I quickly threw together:

In the last 25 years (since 1987) between the Olympics, World Championships and World Juniors there have been 59 IIHF tournaments. Forty one of those 59 tournaments were held in either CAN, USA, SWE, FIN, CZE, SVK, or RUS where the host team should have had a good shot at winning. Of those 59 tournaments the host nation has only won six times, with Canada winning one Olympics and four U20's and Finland winning one U20 tournament. Also the host nation has not won the World Championship since 1986.

I'd be interested to hear peoples theories as to why it appears to be so hard for the host nation to do well at IIHF tournaments.

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01-04-2013, 01:14 AM
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JimboA
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Don't worry, it will happen next year in world juniors

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01-04-2013, 01:24 AM
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Mr Kanadensisk
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Originally Posted by JimboA View Post
Don't worry, it will happen next year in world juniors
Maybe so.

BTW My father-in-law is from Köping and my mother-in-law is from Arboga, two fine towns.

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01-04-2013, 01:27 AM
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Backlund
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The pressure to perform in front of your home crowd.

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01-04-2013, 01:27 AM
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Machinehead
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The host is Canada every other year. They can't win all the time.

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01-04-2013, 01:36 AM
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Hammer Time
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It probably has something to do with having too much pressure.

But then again, in FIFA tournaments the hosts almost always have an advantage, in a sport where pressure is many times greater.

Perhaps it's just an unexplainable quirk?

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01-04-2013, 04:45 AM
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I think Finland national team coach Jukka Jalonen said that it's easier for the team to focus on just hockey when they are playing in a foreign country. Media, fans and friends/family members are a major distraction for host teams especially in countries where hockey and the tournament are popular.

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01-04-2013, 05:54 AM
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I think a lot of people are missing the fact it is hard to win any single one of these tournaments. Sometimes the home crowd helps and I would argue probably more often than not. I was using that as a way to calm myself heading into the third, if the Canadian's did get some momentum they wouldn't have the crowd to help feed it like they had last year against Russia. They might not have pulled it back all the way, but I thought the crowd and home turf almost saved Canada last year. Of course during the collapse in Buffalo (might as well have been Canada) the stunned supporters could have had the opposite negative impact.

It is all what you make of it, sometimes it will help, other times it won't. But the reality is these tournaments are very hard to win and single elimination hockey games are brutal. Sure some things help your odds but on any given night they can conspire against you just as quickly as help you. Just because Canada and Russia have good odds coming in doesn't mean everything will just fall in line. Sports have a randomness to them and that is in large part we love them. You can always try to put yourself in the best position to win, but that is really all you can hope the team you're a fan of or the National team does.

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01-04-2013, 06:50 AM
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Mr Kanadensisk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machinehead View Post
The host is Canada every other year. They can't win all the time.
Just to be clear I wasn't talking about only the WJC. Of the 59 tournaments I analyzed the number of times each country hosted were as follows:

Elsewhere in Europe 17
Canada 11
Finland 7
Czech or slovakia 7
Sweden 6
USA 5
Russia/USSR 5
Japan 1

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01-04-2013, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Kanadensisk View Post
Just to be clear I wasn't talking about only the WJC. Of the 59 tournaments I analyzed the number of times each country hosted were as follows:

Elsewhere in Europe 17
Canada 11
Finland 7
Czech or slovakia 7
Sweden 6
USA 5
Russia/USSR 5
Japan 1
So, Canada have hosted it the most. Which prove his point. Because "Elsewhere in Europe" is more than one country.

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01-04-2013, 07:36 AM
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Mr Kanadensisk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedWings19405 View Post
I think a lot of people are missing the fact it is hard to win any single one of these tournaments. Sometimes the home crowd helps and I would argue probably more often than not. I was using that as a way to calm myself heading into the third, if the Canadian's did get some momentum they wouldn't have the crowd to help feed it like they had last year against Russia. They might not have pulled it back all the way, but I thought the crowd and home turf almost saved Canada last year. Of course during the collapse in Buffalo (might as well have been Canada) the stunned supporters could have had the opposite negative impact.
I think the effect of the home crowd on player performance is mostly a myth since the stats don't seem to show it makes much of a difference. My guess is that both teams can feed of the energy of the crowd.

From what I've read in the NHL the home team wins slightly more than 55% of the time. However a lot of the advantages that a home team has in league play aren't the same in an international tournament.

-last line change (line matching)
-not a factor in IIHF tournaments since the host nation does not get last line change more than any other team
-travel (visiting team has usually travelled further and had less rest than the home team)
-not a factor in IIHF tournaments since all teams travel to the tournament well ahead of time
-familiarity with the rink
-not a factor in IIHF tournaments since even for the host team players most don't play for their club team on the rinks being used
-home crowd
-could be a factor
-effect of home crowd on refs
-could be a factor

Again when I looked at the numbers in IIHF tournaments teams usually placed higher when not hosting than they did when hosting which suggests that hosting is a disadvantage.

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01-04-2013, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Kanadensisk View Post
Just to be clear I wasn't talking about only the WJC. Of the 59 tournaments I analyzed the number of times each country hosted were as follows:

Elsewhere in Europe 17
Canada 11
Finland 7
Czech or slovakia 7
Sweden 6
USA 5
Russia/USSR 5
Japan 1
Given that Canada is much worse at the WC level (I know not a full roster or close most years) than the WJC at least off the top of my head that would seem to be true, wouldn't that help prove home ice matters?

They get it a lot more at the WJC level and do a lot more with it.

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01-04-2013, 07:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Kanadensisk View Post
Again when I looked at the numbers in IIHF tournaments teams usually placed higher when not hosting than they did when hosting which suggests that hosting is a disadvantage.
It is an interesting stat. I just keep thinking they have played two Olympics (with pros) in North America and both times both North American teams made the Gold Medal games. Two outside of North America and both times they didn't. On the whole I usually think home ice has some advantages. I would rather have it than not have it in my opinion, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

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01-04-2013, 07:45 AM
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Mr Kanadensisk
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Originally Posted by Shrimper View Post
So, Canada have hosted it the most. Which prove his point. Because "Elsewhere in Europe" is more than one country.
Of the 59 tournaments I looked at Canada actually hosted 19% of the time, whereas he suggested Canada had hosted 50% of the time which is a big difference. I should also mention that 27% were held in North America, 71% in Europe and 2% in Asia.

What do you mean that it proved his point?

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01-04-2013, 07:51 AM
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Mr Kanadensisk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedWings19405 View Post
Given that Canada is much worse at the WC level (I know not a full roster or close most years) than the WJC at least off the top of my head that would seem to be true, wouldn't that help prove home ice matters?

They get it a lot more at the WJC level and do a lot more with it.
As you said Canada sends a much higher proportion of their best available players to the WJC than the WC so I think that would skew the stats considerably if you looked at it that way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedWings19405 View Post
It is an interesting stat. I just keep thinking they have played two Olympics (with pros) in North America and both times both North American teams made the Gold Medal games. Two outside of North America and both times they didn't. On the whole I usually think home ice has some advantages. I would rather have it than not have it in my opinion, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
You are right about the OG, but you are looking at a sample size of four tournaments vs the 59 I used so your margin for error will be much higher.

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