The 2016 World Cup of Hockey will start September 17th with Round Robin play and end, at the latest, October 1st. The World Cup of Hockey has been played twice before, once in 1996 (United States) and was reprised in 2004 (Canada). ESPN, who continues to not cover the NHL as its hobby, will carry the World Cup in the US and Canada will watch the games on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.
The tournament will function similar to the Olympics: eight teams representing six nations and two under-23 teams, one from Canada and the US and the other from European countries, will play round robin games in two groups, A and B. The top two teams in each group will advance to the semifinals where the top seed will play the second seed of the opposite division. The champion will be decided (this is where it gets interesting) in a best-of-three series. All games will be played at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, where the Maple Leafs play. Below are the Group orientations.
North America U23
GAMES TO WATCH
Saturday, September 17th, 3:30 PM: USA v. Europe U23. This will be the first game played by the U23 team and they start against the US.
Sunday, September 18th, 3 PM: Russia v. Sweden. An increasingly intense rivalry adds another game to its repetoire; also Backstrom and Ovechkin will likely play against each other.
Monday, September 19th, 8 PM: North America U23 v. Russia. This game better be good. It was described as a “transcontinental rivalry” at the press event by ESPN’s Steve Levy and it better live up to that billing.
Tuesday, September 20th, 3 PM: Finland v. Sweden. These teams never disappoint, you won’t want to miss this.
Tuesday, September 20th, 8 PM: Canada v. USA. Might want to take the 21st off to recover from this one. Does this game need ANY more hype?
Wednesday, September 21st, 8 PM: Europe v. Canada. Not sure how this will shake out, but it could be intersting given it is their final game of group play.
Thursday, September 22nd, 3 PM: Finland v. Russia. Former USSR buddies go back at it on the final day of group play.
Saturday, September 24th and Sunday, September 25th: Semifinals
Tuesday, September 27th, 8 PM: Finals Game 1
Thursday, September 29th, 8 PM: Finals Game 2
Saturday, October 1st, 8 PM: Finals Game 3 (if necessary). If it IS necessary, this game is not to be missed by any hockey fan.
No doubt this is a major money maker for the NHL, but it’s still international competition featuring some of hockey’s best players and rising stars. Tickets for this extravaganza go on sale Wednesday, October 14th, 2015.