According to a report by Sovsport.ru in an interview with Soviet hockey legend and current Russian Hockey Federation President Vladislav Tretyak, the groups for the 2016 World Cup Of Hockey in Toronto have been confirmed.
In one group, the hosts Canada will be aligned with border rivals the United States, Czechia and “Team Europe,” made up of the top NHL players not from the other six countries participating in the World Cup. And in the other, Russia, Sweden, Finland and the “North American Youngstars” team, made up of the top under-23 Canadian and American players in the NHL, will face each other.
The two teams in each group will face the top two from the other, first in a Semifinal round, followed by a best-of-three Final to crown the first World Cup champion since 2004. With the tournament hosted centrally in Toronto, this tournament eliminates the issue of having European teams in the “North American” group, denying them the chance to play in front of home crowds, but there is still the fear among hockey purists at having a non-national team potentially win one of hockey’s top national titles.
However, considering the flurry of competition even at this year’s World Championships, combined with the likes of NHL stars deep in a playoff run (like Steven Stamkos, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Henrik Lundqvist) now being available, the tournament should certainly live up to the hype when it arrives next year!