Every June, the month when the Stanley Cup playoffs come to an end, hockey fans repeatedly ask, “Is it October, yet?” They consider summer something that unnecessarily gets in the way of their favorite sport as they countdown the days to the start of a new National Hockey League season.
The anticipation rises when the calendar turns to August signifying that training camp is only a few (six) weeks away. However, this year fans have ramped up the countdown as they anxiously await the beginning of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, a tournament that will see 150 of the world’s best hockey players represent their countries, or regions, for the right to be a member of the greatest team on earth.
The showcase of the world’s most talented players will take place at Toronto’s Air Canada Center September 17 – October 1.
The tournament is a joint effort of the NHL, NHL Players Association (NHLPA), and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and will consist of eight teams representing the USA, Canada, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Europe, and North America.
Team Europe will consist of players who play in the NHL but whose countries do not have enough players in the circuit to ice a team.
Team North American will be comprised of the top talent under the age of 23 from the United States and Canada.
Training camps for the teams will open September 4 or 5.
The clubs will be split into two groups for the preliminary round.
Group A will see USA, Canada, Czech Republic, and Team Europe compete for a spot in the semifinals.
Group B will be made up of Russia, Sweden, Finland, and North America.
The top two teams in each Group will advance to the semifinals with the winners vying for the World Cup of Hockey in a best-of-three Final series.
ESPN has announced that it will televise 12 pre-tournament games on their network as well as on ESPNU, ESPN2, and ESPN3.
The tilts will also be streamed live on WatchESPN on computers, smartphones, tablets, and connected devices on an affiliated video provider.
Pre-tournament broadcast schedule:
Sep 8, 12 p.m., Sweden vs. Finland, Helsinki, Finland, ESPN3
Sep 8, 12:30 p.m., Czech Republic vs. Russia, St. Petersburg, Russia, ESPN3
Sep 8, 8 p.m., North America vs. Europe, Quebec City, Quebec, ESPN2
Sep 9, 7 p.m., Canada vs. USA, Columbus, OH, ESPNU
Sep 10, 10:30 a.m., Russia vs. Czech Republic, Prague, Czech Republic, ESPN3
Sep 10, 12 p.m., Finland vs. Sweden, Gothenburg, Sweden, ESPN3
Sep 10, 7 p.m., USA vs. Canada, Ottawa, Canada, ESPN3
Sep 11, 6 p.m., Europe vs. North America, Montreal, Canada, ESPN3
Sep 13, 7 p.m., Finland vs. USA, Washington, DC, ESPN
Sep 14, 3:30 p.m., Czech Republic vs. North America, Pittsburgh, PA, ESPN3
Sep 14, 7 p.m., Sweden vs. Europe, Washington, DC, ESPN3
Sep 14, 7:30 p.m., Russia vs. Canada, Pittsburgh, PA, ESPN2
Tournament Broadcast Schedule:
Sep 17, 3:30 p.m., USA vs. Europe, ESPN2
Sep 17, 8 p.m., Czech Republic vs. Canada, ESPNEWS
Sep 18, 3 p.m., Sweden vs. Russia, ESPN
Sep 18, 8 p.m., North America vs. Finland, ESPN2
Sep 19, 3 p.m., Europe vs. Czech Republic, ESPN2
Sep 19, 8 p.m., Russia vs. North America, ESPN2
Sep 20, 3 p.m., Finland vs. Sweden, ESPN
Sep 20, 8 p.m., Canada vs. USA, ESPN
Sep 21, 3 p.m., North America vs. Sweden, ESPN
Sep 21, 8 p.m., Europe vs Canada, ESPN2
Sep 22, 3 p.m., Finland vs. Russia, ESPN
Sep 22, 8 p.m., USA vs. Czech Republic, ESPN2
Sep 24, 7 p.m., Semifinal one, ESPN2
Sep 25, 1 p.m., Semifinal two, ESPN
Sep 27, 8 p.m., Final: Game One, ESPN
Sep 29, 8 p.m., Final: Game Two, ESPN2
Oct 1, 7 p.m., Final: Game Three (if necessary), ESPN2
Follow ESPN New Hampshire’s NHL Writer, Shawn Hutcheon, on Twitter at @ShawnHutcheon.