Until the 1970s, the Olympic gold medal was undisputedly the greatest prize in sport hockey.
However, with the ever-growing popularity of the sport, there was a need to organize an independent world hockey championship. After all, the Olympics is a multi-sport event, and since hockey was popular at the time, it had to share the spotlight.
Men’s Hockey World Cup: Origins
Therefore, the idea of ??A men’s hockey world championshiplike football, it was jointly discussed by India and Pakistan, the two biggest hockey powers of the day, at a meeting of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) council in 1969.
The then head of the Pakistan Hockey Federation, Air Marshal Nur Khan, a sports enthusiast who was also the head of the Pakistan Cricket and Squash Federation, was the driving force behind this idea. Nur Khan, who is also considered the mastermind behind the Hockey Champions Trophy, first proposed the idea of ??a world championship to the FIH through Patrick Rowley, the first editor of the renowned World Hockey magazine.
The FIH approved the idea on October 26, 1969, and at the FIH Council meeting in Brussels on April 12, 1970, it was decided that the inaugural hockey world championship will be held in Pakistan in October 1971.
Hockey world cup trophy
To celebrate their status as hosts of the inaugural hosts, the Pakistan Army constructed the official World Hockey Championship trophy which has been used ever since.
The men’s hockey world cup was made of 895 grams of gold, 6815 grams of silver, 350 grams of ivory and 3500 grams of teak. It weighed 11.56 kg and had a height of 650 mm when mounted on the base.
Designed by Air Marshall Bashir Moojid, the Men’s Hockey World Cup trophy is a silver trophy with intricate floral designs set on an ivory inlaid teak base. On top of the mug is a model of a globe made of gold and silver, on which a tiny model of a hockey stick and a ball is placed.
The trophy was officially presented to former FIH President Rene Frank by H. E. Masood, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Belgium, in Brussels on March 27, 1971.
Interestingly, the original design of the Men’s Hockey World Cup trophy was a one-piece hockey stick weighing 18 kg, made of gold and silver. A model of the original design was unveiled at the nine-country international tournament held in Lahore, Pakistan in 1969, but was never officially put into service.
Why the 1971 World Hockey Championship was moved to Spain
In preparation for the inaugural 1971 Men’s Hockey World Cup, India and Pakistan became embroiled in a bitter conflict over the liberation of Bangladesh and then East Pakistan.
The politically charged climate in the region prevented the hosting of the 1971 World Hockey Championship in Pakistan, especially if India were to play. As a result, the FIH has decided to move the tournament to Barcelona, ??Spain, where the matches will be held at the Real Club de Polo.
Pakistan, however, became the inaugural champions after defeating the hosts in the final.
Men’s Ice Hockey World Cup format
The World Hockey Championships were initially conceived as a biennial event, with the first three editions of 1971, 1973 and 1975 held on a two-year hiatus.
The 1978 edition in Argentina, however, took place after a three-year hiatus. Since then, the Ice Hockey World Championships have been held every four years and are hosted once every four years.
The 2023 edition in India is an exception as the tournament was delayed due to COVID-19, but the next one will be held in 2026 to reset the format every four years.
Until 1975, the Men’s Hockey World Championship was an invitational tournament, but qualifiers were introduced in 1977.
The format of the Hockey World Cup tournaments remained more or less in line with a round-robin group stage, followed by knockout and placement matches to determine the final positions and champions.
Men’s Ice Hockey World Cup teams
There are no set rules regarding the number of teams that can play in the Hockey World Championship. 10 teams took part in the inaugural edition; India, Pakistan, Spain, Kenya, West Germany, France, Argentina, Japan, Netherlands and Australia. It was the smallest edition so far.
Most other editions have featured 12 teams, with the exception of 2002, 2018 and 2023 where 16 teams competed. Pakistan is the most successful team in the history of the men’s hockey world championship with four titles. India has only won the trophy once, in 1975.
Women’s Hockey World Cup
After the commercial success of the 1971 and 1973 Men’s Hockey World Championships, the FIH gave the go-ahead for Women’s Hockey World Championship.
The first women’s hockey world championship was held in 1974 in Mandelieu, France.
Like the men’s version, it was initially conceived as a bi-annual tournament and was initially held every two or three years. However, since 1986, the Women’s Hockey World Championship has been held every four years.
The number of teams participating in the Women’s Hockey World Championship has also been inconsistent. The 1974 and 1978 editions were the smallest with 10 teams. Eleven teams played in the 1976 edition.
Most editions are 12-team tournaments, with the exception of 2002, 2018 and 2022 which had 16. The Netherlands dominated the Women’s Hockey World Championship, winning nine titles, including two hat-tricks, making them the most successful team in the competition’s history.
Little is known about the origin of the Women’s Hockey World Cup trophy. FIH sources say it was made in Scotland and first introduced in 1975. The trophy, also known as the “salad bowl”, is a silver cup placed on a base. The trophy was renewed in 2018.