As first reported by ESPN, part of the delay for the anticipated 2016 World Cup Of Hockey announcement were discussions between the NHL and the Montréal Canadiens, in the hopes that Centre Bell could co-host the tournament with Toronto in September 2016. However, the league has expressed a desire to keep the entire tournament in a single city, hosted out of the Air Canada Centre (pictured above), home of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
How this will play out remains to be seen, whether the tournament will be extended beyond the typical World Cup length, or if afternoon games would be held (perhaps between European teams) so games will air in prime-time in Europe. While there is certainly logistical problems to work out, it seems that plenty of action will be headed to downtown Toronto…as well as the guarantee of having a trophy lifted on Air Canada Centre ice, something that is sorely lacking otherwise! :)
The article notes that the NHL is also holding off on any formal announcement until longer-term details of the tournament are worked out, hoping to commit to more than one tournament – surely to avoid the kind of delay like with this 12 year gap. It will be interesting not only when and where the next tournament would be held, but with whom, whether sticking with the currently expected field of eight teams, or expanding to something closer to the Olympic format of twelve teams. Recent Olympics could certainly make the argument for growing the field, as the global competitive landscape is closing in tighter than ever in the history of international hockey. We will post updates as they come in!