The World Cup of Hockey is an international ice hockey tournament. Inaugurated in 1996, it is the successor to the previous Canada Cup, which ran from 1976 to 1991. The tournament has occurred three times, with the United States winning in 1996 and Canada winning twice in 2004 and 2016.
Unlike its International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF)-sanctioned counterpart, the annual World Ice Hockey Championships, the World Cup of Hockey is organized by the National Hockey League (NHL). As such, the games are played under NHL rules and not those of the IIHF. The World Cup of Hockey also occurs outside of the hockey season, allowing for all the best players in the world to be available, unlike the World Championships, which overlaps with the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The World Cup of Hockey was preceded by the Canada Cup, which began in 1976 in a combined effort from Douglas Fisher of Hockey Canada and Alan Eagleson of the NHL Players' Association. Taking inspiration from soccer's FIFA World Cup, Eagleson proposed a new tournament that would bring together all the top hockey-playing nations. After successful negotiations with hockey officials from the Soviet Union in September 1974, Eagleson began arranging the Canada Cup tournament, which debuted in 1976. It was the first international ice hockey tournament that allowed hockey nations to field their top players, as the Winter Olympics was a strictly amateur competition and the annual World Championships clashed with the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The tournaments, held every three to five years, took place in North American venues prior to the start of the National Hockey League (NHL) regular season. Of the five Canada Cup tournaments, four were won by Canada, while the Soviet Union won one in 1981.
World Cup of Hockey
In 1996, the Canada Cup officially changed its name to the World Cup of Hockey. The United States defeated Canada to win that year's inaugural tournament. Other competitors were the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Russia, Slovakia and Sweden.
Eight years later, the second installment of the World Cup of Hockey took place in 2004, just prior to the 2004–05 NHL lockout. Canada won its first tournament championship, defeating the Czech Republic in the semifinals and Finland in the final match.
Due to a potential lockout in 2020-2021 the 2020 World Cup of Hockey was cancelled.
The lead broadcast team was Mike Emrick, and John Davidson. In the first four years of the deal, James Brown and Dave Maloney hosted the show from the Fox studio in Los Angeles. In the final year, it was Suzy Kolber and Terry Crisp. The #2 broadcast team was Kenny Albert, and "Inside the Glass" reporter Joe Micheletti. The #3 broadcast team was Sam Rosen, and Mickey Redmond.
1996 World Cup trophy In 2004, award-winning Canadian architect Frank Gehrydesigned a new trophy for the tournament. It is made from a composite alloy of copper and nickel as well as solid cast urethane plastic. The trophy has been criticized by the sports community noting the Toronto Sun's headline "What is that?
- 1996 Winner: American National Team Runner-up: Canadian National Team Semi-finalists: Russian National Team and Swedish National Team
- 2004 Winner: Canadian National Team Runner-up: Finnish National Team Semi-finalists: Czech National Team and American National Team
- 2016 Winner: Canadian National Team Runner-up: Team Europe Semi-finalists: American National Team and Russian National Team