While the notion of the Team Europe and North America squads at the 2016 World Cup Of Hockey were seen as gimmicky by many, they have served as not only a pleasant surprise to fans around the world, but as now one of the top two teams in international hockey.
Tomáš Tatar’s overtime goal to eliminate Sweden in their semifinal stunned the hockey world, advancing Team Europe to the World Cup final against Canada, but ending the International Hockey Lineal Championship’s reign in Toronto. As the best of three final between Canada and Europe would not technically count towards the IHLC (as Europe does not represent a single country, but rather eight in a collective), Canada’s final nation vs. nation game would be their 5-3 semifinal win against Russia. Canada and Europe previously met in Group A play, with Canada winning 4-1 on 21 September.
While the world watches the Canada vs. Europe final from Toronto, the IHLC will next be contended by Team Canada this November, when Canada returns to the Deutschland Cup after an absence in 2015. While the lineup will not feature the firepower they have in NHL stars at the World Cup, they will still be out to contend on the international stage, and have their first game (and thus their first title defense) in an exhibition game against Hungary in Budapest on 1 November.
Our congratulations go out to Team Europe on this momentous achievement, with the hopes that this will show to the NHL and global hockey community that many of the nations represented by this collective, such as Slovakia, Germany and Switzerland, perhaps deserve their own individual places at the next World Cup in 2020.