World Cup Hockey

The World Cup of Hockey was an international ice hockey tournament. Inaugurated in 1996, it was the successor to the previous Canada Cup, which ran from 1976 to 1991. The tournament occurred twice, with the United States winning in 1996 and Canada winning in 2004.

The World Cup of Hockey was organized by the National Hockey League (NHL), unlike the annual Ice Hockey World Championships and quadrennial Olympic tournament, both sanctioned by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). World Cup games were played under NHL rules and not those of the IIHF, and the tournament occurred outside of the NHL season, allowing for all of the best players in the world to be available, unlike the World Championships, which overlaps with the NHL's Stanley Cup playoffs.


Canada CupEdit

See Canada Cup for more information.

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.[1] 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.[2] 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 HockeyEdit

In 1996, the Canada Cup officially changed its name to the World Cup of Hockey. The United States defeated Canada to win the inaugural event. 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.

On January 24, 2015, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, which will be held in September 2016 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The 2016 edition will feature a slightly modified format: alongside the Big Six countries, there will be two all-star teams, consisting of Team Europe and an under-23 Team North America.

For the 2020 edition, the all-star teams will be replaced by qualifying teams. There are also plans for a spin-off event beginning in 2018, which would pit a European all-star team against a North American all-star team in a five or seven-game series. This event would also occur every four years, alternating biannually with the World Cup of Hockey. These moves are intended, primarily, to help expand the international prominence of the NHL.


In 2004, award-winning Canadian architect Frank Gehry designed a new trophy for the tournament. The trophy was criticized by the sports community, noting the Toronto Sun's headline "What is that?"[3]


Year Champion Runner-up Semi-finalists
1996 Flag of the United States.svg.png United States Flag of Canada.svg.png Canada Flag of Russia.svg.png Russia and Flag of Sweden.svg.png Sweden
2004 Flag of Canada.svg.png Canada Flag of Finland.svg.png Finland Flag of the Czech Republic.svg.png Czech Republic and Flag of the United States.svg.png United States
2016 Flag of Canada.svg Toronto

See alsoEdit


  1. "Canada Cup (World Cup of Hockey)". Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  2. The Canada Cup of Hockey Fact and Stat Book, p. 2, H.J. Anderson, ISBN number: 1412055121, 9781412055123, Publisher: Trafford Publishing, 2005
  3. Adams, Noah (September 3, 2004). "Frank Gehry's World Cup of Hockey Trophy" (Radio Interview.). National Public Radio. Retrieved October 11, 2010. 
  • Müller, Stephan : International Ice Hockey Encyclopedia 1904-2005 / BoD GmbH Norderstedt, 2005 ISBN 3-8334-4189-5

International Ice Hockey Federation
World Championships

Ice Hockey World Championships - U20 - U18 - IIHF World Women's Championships - U18

Other competitions

Olympic Games - Champions Hockey League - Continental Cup - Challenge Cup of Asia - European Women's Champions Cup


Victoria Cup - European Champions Cup - Super Cup - European Championships - European Women Championships - European Junior Championships - Asian Oceanic U18 Championships

Related articles

IIHF Centennial All-Star Team - IIHF Hall of Fame - IIHF World Ranking - List of IIHF members

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