If you were around for the World Cup this summer or the Winter Olympics every four years you know what it's like - feverish, exciting, getting to cheer for your own country's players, league lines completely thrown aside. People who live in Europe get to experience this every year with the World Championships, but as those always happen during the NHL playoffs, the USA and Canada teams are usually crummy, and very few people in North America pay attention.
That's going to change in 2016, with the return of the World Cup of Hockey, a thing that hasn't been seen since 2004. The former World Cup of Hockey was born from the Canada Cup and happened three times - the USA won in 1996, while Canada won in 2000 and 2004.
The new iteration of this tournament will be held in September 2016 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto. It will be a two-week tournament beginning Saturday, September 17 and if, as Gary Bettman says, it "goes the distance," it might end as late as October 1.
The World Cup will be comprised of six national teams - Canada, the United States, Sweden, Finland, Russia and the Czech Republic - as well as the European All-Star team, which will be comprised of NHL players from other countries such as Slovakia, Switzerland and Norway. An eighth squad will be the NHL "Young Guns" team, made up of North American players under the age of 23.
Considering the NHL may not return to the Olympics in 2018, this could be an exciting alternative, or it could be a massive flop. What do you think?