Euro Ice Hockey Challenge
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The Euro Ice Hockey Challenge is a yearly series of national ice hockey tournaments, organized during the international breaks defined in the IIHF calendar in November, December, and February. Tournaments are played in different locations in Europe and sometimes feature teams from outside of Europe, usually Japan.
The EIHC was founded in October 2001 by the IIHF. Participants are the ice hockey national teams of countries that are themselves at or around the level of the IIHF World Championship Division I. It is a second-tier equivalent to tournaments of the Euro Hockey Tour.
Almost all the teams use the EIHC as preparation for the World Championship later in the same year. It is an opportunity for teams to test less experienced players and for them to gain valuable ice time at an international level.
In 2001 the initial IIHF tournament scheme, planned to last until 2005, included the following 12 participating nations: Ukraine, Austria, Netherlands, Italy, Latvia, Slovenia, Poland, Belarus, Norway, Great Britain, France, Denmark and Hungary. The tournament has since expanded to more than 4 tournaments and the occasional participation by Japan.
The 2012 edition consisted of seven tournaments:
2nd International Break
3rd International Break
4th International Break
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