The World Cup of Hockey to be Reintroduced Next September
by Jeremy Gross on Friday, November 20th, 2015
The 2015-2016 NHL season is off to a thrilling start as teams battle for a top position in the standings. Last year’s strongest teams must yet again prove their dominance, and second-tier teams must try to bounce back from previous struggles. Reigning Stanley Cup Champions Chicago Blackhawks are struggling so far just 17 games into the 82 game regular season, with a record of nine wins, seven losses, and one overtime loss. This can only mean one thing: the beloved Stanley Cup is ripe for the taking. The New York Rangers, Dallas Stars, and Montreal Canadiens all sit atop the NHL standings with 28 points each, with the fourth place Washington Capitals a full five points behind.
While teams will continue to rise and fall throughout the NHL season, the league leaders look eerily similar so far. Despite a rocky offseason for Patrick Kane consisting of much time in court due to rape accusations–which resulted in his removal from the cover of EA Sports’ “NHL 16” video game–Kane now leads the league in points (26), goals (14) and plus-minus (+13). Former Boston Bruin and current Dallas Star Tyler Seguin leads the league in assists (17) and is tied with Kane for points.
The return of the World Cup of Hockey is also grabbing the attention of hockey fans across the globe. The World Cup of Hockey, to be held in Toronto prior to the start of the 2016-2017 NHL season next September, is already projected to be a huge step forward for the sport. The first World Cup of Hockey occurred in 1996 after taking over for the Canada Cup which ran from 1976 to 1991 and happened every three to five years. Though initially planned to occur every four years, the second installment of the World Cup of Hockey was not held until 2004, when after losing to the United States in ‘96, Canada won the championship. On January 24, 2015, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the World Cup of Hockey would be revived in Toronto in 2016.
Next year’s tournament will debut a different format than in previous years. The Cup will consist of two, four team groups: Group A—Team Canada, Team Czech Republic, Team Europe, and Team USA—and Group B—Team Finland, Team Russia, Team Sweden, and Team North America. This group of teams differs with the addition of Team North America, a team of Canada and United States-born players age 23 years old and younger. Additionally, Team Europe consists of European born players not born in Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic, or Russia.
Superstar NHL forwards Sidney Crosby and John Tavares have both discussed their excitement for the new event. “Best-on-best…We don’t see it enough in hockey. I would love to be a part of it,” Tavares said in an interview. “It’s going to be pretty incredible,” said Crosby, who has represented Team Canada in the U-18 2003 World Championships, U-20 2004 and 2005 world championships, in the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, and in the 2015 World Championships in Prague, winning a grand total of four gold medals. The world is clearly excited for the 2015-2016 NHL season and the highly anticipated World Cup of Hockey.
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