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Thursday, March 10, 2011
Ice hockey on international rink in 2014

By ESPN.com

Although there is still no decision on whether NHL players will compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, one decision has been made.

The IIHF council confirmed Thursday that the Olympic ice hockey tournaments for men and women will be played on international-sized rinks (200 feet by 98 feet) instead of North American-sized rinks (200 feet by 85 feet).

The 2010 Vancouver Games were the first Olympics played on the smaller rink.

"This decision was not as obvious as it may have been some years ago," IIHF president Rene Fasel said in a statement released by the organization. "In our thorough evaluation of Vancouver 2010, we received very positive feedback about playing on the small surface, and the IIHF has today recognized both surfaces as fitting for international hockey.

"What we know today from our extensive research dating back to 1972 is that ice size does not benefit one hockey style over another. The experience shows that the best team wins regardless of which rink you play on. So this decision carries nothing political, the reason is solely based on respecting the tradition and also practicality."