Russia_v_Denmark_World_Champs_2010April 2 - The ice hockey tournament at the Sochi 2014 Olympics will be played on international-sized rinks measuring 60 meters by 30 meters, it has been announced.

"This decision was not as obvious as it may have been some years ago," said Rene Fasel, President of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).

"In our thorough evaluation of Vancouver 2010, we received very positive feedback about playing on the small surface and the IIHF has today recognised both surfaces as fitting for international hockey."

Last year's games in Vancouver became the first Olympics played on North American-sized rinks, which is narrower, with a size of 60 meters by 26 meters.

"Nowadays, all IIHF events which are hosted by American or Canadian organizers, be it the World Under-20 Championship or the World Women's, are played on small rinks as this is the North American tradition and if you play in Canada or in the United States you play on the existing rinks, and we no longer ask the organizer to widen the rink to conform with international standard," Fasel said.

Canada beat the United States to claim the Olympic gold medal at Vancouver last year.

"Conversely, when an IIHF-sanctioned event takes place in Europe, we should acknowledge the custom on this continent," said Fasel.

"This is really the prime reason for the decision."

Twelve men's and eight women's hockey teams will take part in the Sochi Games in three years' time.