I love the Spengler Cup. It’s always been one of my favourite hockey events of the year. Paired together with the World Junior Hockey Championships, the Christmas holiday season always has something extra to look forward to each year.

The hardcore hockey fans seem to love it for its high paced action, nostalgic feel and the overall greatness of the event. But whether it be the advertisements, lack of superstars or just the timing of the tournament, the Spengler Cup seems to be forgotten about in North America.  I’ve even seen people complain that they don’t understand the format of the tournament. So, for those who don’t know what the heck is going on, or would like a little bit of an idea to figure out the format, I’ve made a guide to understanding one of the greatest hockey tournaments in the world.

Group Stage

The teams are split into two groups for the preliminary round. The “Cattini” group, named after Hockey Hall of Famer Hans Cattini, play their games in the in the afternoon, while “Torriani”, named after Richard “Bibi” Torriani who played participated in both hockey and luge back in the early 1900’s, play their games during the evening. Starting on December 26th, both groups play their first games of the tournament, with Jokerit, Lugano and Mannheim making up the cgroup and Canada, Davos and Yekaterinburg taking up the Torriani group.

On December 27th, the loser of the Lugano/Mannheim game will take on Jokerit in the second Cattini group game, while the loser of the Yekaterinburg/Canada game will battle Davos in the later game. On the 28th, the winners from day one will battle Jokerit and Davos in their respective groups to finish off the preliminary round games with every team having played two games.

Qualification Stage

On December 29th, the elimination stage begins with both groups crossing over. The top two rated teams don’t have to participate on this day as they earn byes to the semi-finals on December 30th. On the 29th, however, the second-placed team in each group will take on the third ranked team from the other group.

For example:

  • Davos came second in the Torriani group while Lugano came second in the Cattini group
  • Yekaterinburg came third in the Torriani group while Jokerit came third in the Cattini group
  • Davos will now face Jokerit at 3pm Davos local time, while Lugano and Yekaterinburg will play at night

The winners of each of these games will face each other on December 30th for the semi-final rounds and as you could probably guess, the winner of those two teams will battle it out in the finals on New Years Eve. The winner? Well, they’re the 2015 Spengler Cup champions.

Point/Overtime System

The point system is very basic for international hockey, but for people who aren’t familiar with that side of hockey, they may not be familiar with it. The winner of every group stage game receives three points, with the loser getting zero. If the game requires overtime, which is a single, five-minute stretch of 3-on-3 hockey (new for 2015), the winner only receives two points, while the loser gets a single point. The same point distribution occurs during the shootout, which comes after the five-minute extra frame.

See? Not too hard to understand, is it? The legendary tournament is coming up soon, running from December 26th-31st in Davos, Switzerland. For news, game reviews and rosters, click here.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

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