World Cup groups and schedule released

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The young Americans and Canadians comprising “Team North America” may never get the chance to upset their elders.

That’s because Team North America, the 23-or-under team that will participate in the 2016 World Cup, has been placed in Group B with Finland, Russia, and Sweden, while Group A will be made up of the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic, and Team Europe (comprised of Europeans born outside of the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden.)

The tournament format calls for three group games, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the semifinals. That means the young stars would have to beat out two of Finland, Russia, and Sweden in order to advance.

Of note, all Team North America players must have a date of birth on or after Oct. 2, 1992. Since those players will be available for selection exclusively by Team North America, each player on Team Canada and Team USA must be born on Oct. 1, 1992 or earlier.

Team North America will be selected by Peter Chiarelli (Oilers GM) and Stan Bowman (Blackhawks GM).

Here’s the full World Cup schedule (all times Eastern):

Preliminary Round (round robin)

Saturday, Sept. 17
Team Europe vs. Team USA, 3:30 p.m.
Team Canada vs. Team Czech Republic, 8 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 18
Team Russia vs. Team Sweden, 3 p.m.
Team Finland vs. Team North America, 8 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 19
Team Czech Republic vs. Team Europe, 3 p.m.
Team North America vs. Team Russia, 8 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 20
Team Finland vs. Team Sweden, 3 p.m.
Team Canada vs. Team USA, 8 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 21
Team North America vs. Team Sweden, 3 p.m.
Team Canada vs. Team Europe, 8 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 22
Team Finland vs. Team Russia, 3 p.m.
Team Czech Republic vs. Team USA, 8 p.m.

Semifinals (single elimination; A1 vs. B2, B1 vs. A2)

Saturday, Sept. 24
Semifinal 1, TBD

Sunday, Sept. 25
Semifinal 2, TBD

Final (best-of-three)

Tuesday, Sept. 27
Final Game 1, 8 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 29
Final Game 2, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 1
Final Game 3, 7 p.m. (if necessary)

All games will be played at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

Each team will have a roster of 23 players: 20 skaters and three goalies.

Related: Unique World Cup format allows ‘more of the very best players’ to participate