According to TSN’s Rick Westhead the NHL and NHLPA will announce the return of the world cup of hockey during the NHL all star break, which takes place Jan. 22-26.
Westhead added one of the tweaks to the tournament will include a best-of-three final.
In November Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported potential changes to the format.
Rumored changes to the tournament include two all star teams in addition to the top six hockey nations (Canada, U.S., Sweden, Finland, Russia and Czech Republic).
One all star squad will be made up of the best players from Slovakia, Switzerland, Latvia, Germany and Slovenia, among others.
The make-up of the second all star team is yet to be determined.
Last month IIHF president Rene Fasel weighed in on the proposed changes.
“To be very honest, I like the idea. If we go with No. 7 and 8 with normal matching teams, we have that in the Olympics, we have that in the Canada Cup, we have that in the World Championships. Now having this selection. There’s a discussion about having European selection, it would be a great team with non-participating European teams building up a team,” said Fasel. “Then the second one is North American selection. That can be a very interesting for the hockey fans, great. That could be something. It is still an idea. There’s a rumor. We don’t know yet what they’re going to do. Personally, I like it very much.”
Fasel may like it, but players we here at PHT talked to were skeptical.
“It would be hard to play for some kind of different team, but I guess at the same time, a lot of the small countries, they’re producing really good players,” said Olli Jokinen, who’s represented Finland internationally on a number of occasions. “Players like that, a lot of time they don’t get a chance to play tournaments like that.”
Added U.S. Olympian, and Toronto Maple Leafs forward, James van Riemsdyk: “There’s more pride it in, for the players, when you’re representing your country. I think it’s fun when you have the different countries like you have every year in one of these tournaments there’s a big upset and that’s what makes it fun.
“I think it’s more fun when you have the countries (competing).”
Toronto is expected to be one the venues for the 2016 tournament.