Many of us are very familiar with the NHL (National Hockey League) that is playing its 2012 Stanley Cup Championship at this time. It is mainly a non-profit organization consisting of 30 hockey leagues that covers Canada and the United States. However, the IIHF is the governing body of ice hockey and in-line hockey worldwide. Founded in 1908 and head quartered in Zurich, Switzerland this body consist of 70 members (51 full members, 16 associate members and three affiliate members). Its main responsibility is to manage international ice hockey tournaments. Only full members have the voting rights. Associates members may not have a national body that deals with ice hockey issues in the country and affiliate members only participate in in-line hockey.
IIHF presides over the ice hockey games at the Olympics and conducts World Championship games. Additionally, it also organizes the European club championship.
Despite its worldwide responsibility, IIHF has minimal control over the NHL which is the more prominent control authority in ice hockey in North America. However, IIHF has more power over ice hockey in the Europe.
Even with a powerful NHL organization, the IIHF continues to function as the international coordination agency for the sport.