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Teams outside the Big Six have won only five medals in either competition since 1953.

The World Cup of Hockey is organized by the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA), unlike the annual World Championships and quadrennial Olympic tournament, both run by the International Ice Hockey Federation.

World Cup games are played under NHL rules and not those of the IIHF, and the tournament occurs prior to the NHL pre-season, allowing for all NHL players to be available, unlike the World Championships, which overlaps with the NHL's Stanley Cup playoffs.

Furthermore, all 12 Women's Olympic and 36 IIHF World Women's Championships medals were awarded to one of these six countries.

The first known mention spelled as "hockey" occurred in the 1773 book Juvenile Sports and Pastimes, to Which Are Prefixed, Memoirs of the Author: Including a New Mode of Infant Education, by Richard Johnson (Pseud.

Master Michel Angelo), whose chapter XI was titled "New Improvements on the Game of Hockey".

To while away their boredom and to stay in shape they [European colonial soldiers in North America] would play on the frozen rivers and lakes. Hockey was invented by all these people, all these cultures, all these individuals. In 1825, John Franklin wrote "The game of hockey played on the ice was the morning sport" on Great Bear Lake during one of his Arctic expeditions. In 1843 another British Army officer in Kingston, Ontario wrote, "Began to skate this year, improved quickly and had great fun at hockey on the ice." In the same era, the Mi'kmaq, a First Nations people of the Canadian Maritimes, also had a stick-and-ball game.

The British [English] played bandy, the Scots played shinty and golf, the Irish, hurling, while the Dutch soldiers probably pursued ken jaegen. A mid-1830s watercolour portrays New Brunswick lieutenant-governor Archibald Campbell and his family with British soldiers on skates playing a stick-on-ice sport. Canadian oral histories describe a traditional stick-and-ball game played by the Mi'kmaq, and Silas Tertius Rand (in his 1894 Legends of the Micmacs) describes a Mi'kmaq ball game known as tooadijik.

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) is the formal governing body for international ice hockey, with the IIHF managing international tournaments and maintaining the IIHF World Ranking.Of the 69 medals awarded all-time in men's competition at the Olympics, only seven medals were not awarded to one of those countries (or two of their precursors, the Soviet Union for Russia, and Czechoslovakia for the Czech Republic).In the annual Ice Hockey World Championships, 177 of 201 medals have been awarded to the six nations.Hockey pucks, sticks, skates, shin pads, shoulder pads, gloves, helmets (with visor or cage, depending on age of player and league), elbow pads, jock or jill, socks, shorts, neck guard (depends on league), mouthguard (depends on league) Ice hockey is a contact team sport played on ice, usually in a rink, in which two teams of skaters use their sticks to shoot a vulcanized rubber puck into their opponent's net to score points.The sport is known to be fast-paced and physical, with teams usually consisting of six players each: one goaltender, and five players who skate up and down the ice trying to take the puck and score a goal against the opposing team.

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