The World Cup of Hockey is poised for a triumphant return as eight teams with the world’s best hockey players compete in an exciting new format. The International tournament, which hasn’t been played since 2004, is set to take place over a two-week period from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, 2016. All games will be played at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Much like the Winter Olympics, the NHL plans to hold the World Cup every four years, with the possibility of a Ryder Cup-style North America vs. Europe series coming in 2018. Unlike the Olympics, however, the World Cup will feature two mixed all-star teams in addition to six national teams.
The eight teams participating in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey will be: Team Canada, Team Czech Republic, Team Finland, Team Russia, Team Sweden, Team USA, Team Europe and Team North America. Teams must announce at least 16 of their players, including two goalies, by March 1. The remainder of the 23-man rosters (three goalies, 20 skaters) must be announced by June 1. Until then, here is everything else you need to know about the 2016 World Cup of Hockey:
Tortorella leading Team USA
Although they failed to earn a medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, the United States will be among the top contenders at the new World Cup tournament, with John Tortorella serving as head coach. Tortorella, who coached the Tampa Bay Lightning to a Stanley Cup in 2004, previously served as an assistant on Team USA’s 2010 Olympic team.
“I am so excited just to be part of a staff and then to meet up with the players next year, the best players, and try and do this the right way,” Tortorella told the Los Angeles Times. “I’m already knee deep into what I think we’ll touch upon in those 10, 11 days. I’m focused on the World Cup and that’s all I’m worried about now.”
The eight teams will be divided into two groups of four, and each will compete in three tournament games within their assigned group in a round-robin format.
Group A will consist of Team USA, Team Canada, Team Czech Republic and Team Europe, while Group B will feature Team Russia, Team Sweden, Team Finland and Team North America.
The top two finishers in Group A and Group B will advance to a single-game semi-final, where the first-place team from each group will face an elimination game against the second-place team from the other group. Winners of the semi-final games will advance to a best-of-three final series.
All games will be refereed by NHL officials under NHL rules. Other features, such as the anti-doping policy and medical protocols, will be coordinated by the NHL and NHLPA in consultation with outside parties.
Who is eligible to be selected for Team Europe?
Team Europe will comprise players born in countries other than the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden, with no age restrictions. Countries such as Austria, Denmark, Germany, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland are expected to have representation.
Who is eligible to be selected for Team North America?
Team North America will be compromised of young, up-and-coming players from Canada and the United States. Those players must be 23 or under as of Oct. 1, 2016, and will be available for selection exclusively by Team North America.
Who is eligible to be selected for Team USA?
As North American players age 23 and under will be available for selection exclusively by Team North America, each player for Team USA must be 24 or older by no later than Oct. 1, 2016.
Where can I watch?
ESPN owns the media rights on television and radio, and most games will appear on ESPN and ESPN2.