Ice hockey tournament of teams-champions of Europe's six ice hockey powerhouses is planned

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) intends to stage a tournament with the participation of clubs from six European countries which are the strongest in this sport.

As RIA Novosti was told in the IIHF press service in Zurich, last weekend representatives of the ice hockey federations of Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Finland, Slovakia, Switzerland and Germany, together with the International Federation, discussed a project of the future tournament.

According to the IIHF special projects director Federico Saviozzi, the champions of six ice hockey powerhouses will participate in this competition slated to be held in January 2005. Saviozzi noted that all the sides would sign a three-year contract for participation in the tournament.

The entrants will be picked on the basis of the following principle: five clubs - champions of the countries of the top Five of the recently established IIHF rating plus the champion of the country which will offer the best conditions for hosting this tournament. The teams will be divided in two groups (three squads in each group) and play according to the Round Robin system, with the winners of the groups qualifying for the final to vie for the main prize.

The IIHF rating will be published after the world championship of 2004 in the Czech Republic and will determine six best countries. If the first tournament of six champions starts, as it is planned, in January 2005, the clubs of precisely these countries will participate in it.

According to the above-said IIHF rating list, Russia is now ranking fifth among the European countries. Canada is on top of the rating list but it will not participate in the future tournament "for geographical reasons".

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