Getty ImagesThe last World Cup of Hockey was held in 2004. A great hockey spectacle showcasing the world’s best players battling it out for their country was the successor of the equally historic Canada Cup that was held from 1976 to 1991. Since the last World Cup of Hockey there have been a few suggestions to bring the tournament back, especially in light of the desire of players involved to be able to play for their country at a high level tournament (no offence, IIHF World Championships).
The NHL, the NHLPA and the IIHF got together in Sweden recently to negotiate a lot of items on their agenda, including the new player transfer agreement and NHL’s participation in Sochi. As we reported Friday, the NHL is set to announce their agreement to send players to Russia next February in the coming weeks. A tentative break in the next NHL season set between February 9 and February 25 is planned.
But what we didn’t know is that the NHL is also set to revive the World Cup of Hockey. NHL.com’s Dan Rosen reported yesterday that the new player transfer agreement with the IIHF (minus Russia) included a provision for a cooperation for a World Cup of Hockey.
And Saturday morning, Vladislav Tretiak, President of the Russian Hockey Federation who was present at the meetings with the NHL, told Sovetsky Sport that the World Cup of Hockey will indeed be back. The first after a long absence will be held in August of 2016 in the same format as the last one in 2004.
Going through the rosters of the last World Cup, it is possible to see that a few players from each national team may play in 2016, like Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk for Russia, Vincent Lecavalier for Canada, Zdeno Chara for Slovakia. It is also evident how the US goaltender situation has improved over the years after seeing Ty Conklin, Rick DiPietro and Robert Esche tending the net for Team USA in 2004.
The resuscitation of the World Cup of Hockey also casts a shadow of a doubt of the NHL’s participation in any future Olympics beyond 2014 in Sochi.