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World Cup Of Hockey Coming In 2016

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Break out the vuvuzelas! An international hockey World Cup is on the way!

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The NHL announced today that the World Cup of Hockey will be returning in September of 2016. Gary Bettman made the announcement during a press conference at Nationwide Arena in Columbus during the All-Star festivities.

"We are thrilled to partner with the NHLPA in planning and producing what we expect will be the world's best international hockey tournament."

...

"The 2016 World Cup of Hockey will highlight not only our global reach, but also the skill and passion of the world's best athletes. We would like to thank our international partners - the IIHF and their members - for their cooperation in helping to make this event a reality.

According to the press release, the tournament will consist of 8 international teams that will compete in group play followed by a knock-out style format similar to the FIFA World Cup. The teams will consist of:

  • Team Canada
  • Team Czech Republic
  • Team Finland
  • Team Russia
  • Team Sweden
  • Team USA
  • Team Europe
  • Team North American Youngsters
Aside from the major international teams that are to be expected, the two "all-star" style teams offer a unique twist. Bigger name players from smaller countries like Slovakia or Switzerland will get the chance to team up on Team Europe. Players like Jaroslav Halak, from Slovakia, seem pleased that they will be able to compete in such a tournament. The North American Youngsters team will consist of players from the US or Canada age 23 and under. With players like Aaron Ekblad, Jonathan Drouin, and Seth Jones being eligible for the Youngsters team, you could see some fascinating match-ups in group play and beyond.

If you like hockey and you like international sporting competitions, this is fantastic news!