NHL commissioner Gary Bettman finally spilled the beans on Saturday, announcing that the World Cup of Hockey will return in September 2016 in Toronto, Canada with an eight team system.
The first World Cup since 2004, the tournament will consist of Canada, the United States, Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic and Finland. They’ll be joined a team featuring the best European players not competing in the tournament, as well as an U23 team of North American players.
The European team will be allowed to take players from Slovakia, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France, Denmark, Norway, Latvia, Belarus, Estonia, Slovenia, Kazakhstan and Lithuania, among others. As of now, it has yet to be announced as to who will manage the team.
The eight teams will be divided into two Groups of four, with each team playing three games before the quarter-final begin. For the most part, the tournament will follow IIHF format rules, but on-ice regulations are still to be decided by the NHL and IIHF.
The tournament has been on a hiatus for the past ten years. The last World Cup was also held in Toronto, with Canada defeating Finland 3-2 in the tournament final at the Air Canada Centre. The expectation would be that the tournament would once again be played prior to the NHL season, as the last installment took place from August 30th-September 14th, 2004.
All official tournament games will be played at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto from September 17 – October 1, 2016.
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