While we know the groups for the 2018 Winter Olympic men’s hockey tournament, it’s still to be determined whether the NHL will send its players to PyeongChang, Korea.
The NHL and NHLPA will participate, however, in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey scheduled for Sept. 2016 in Toronto. On Thursday, Vladislav Tretiak, head of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, revealed the groups for the international tournament during an interview with Russia's SovSport.
Group A: Canada, Czech Republic, USA, Europe All-Stars
Group B: Sweden, Finland, Russia, U23-North Americans
Each country will play three games with the top two teams in each group advancing to the semifinals. All games will be played at Air Canada Centre from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1 with the final being a best-of-three series.
As was announced during a January press conference, the individual federations have a March 1, 2016 deadline to announce their first 16 players, which will include two goalies, with the rest being named no later than June 1, 2016. (The NHL and NHLPA will jointly name each of the management teams for the Euro All-Stars and U23 North American team.)
“I can not comment on this because it is confidential until September,” said Tommy Boustedt, developmental chief of the Swedish Ice Hockey Association, to Expressen.
These reported groups not only give us some juicy round-robin match-ups, but also keeps the U23 North American team away from playing against Canada and USA, at least early on. It wasn't clear how the four teams coming out of the group stage would be seeded, but the possibility of a Canada-Sweden rematch or a best-of-three final between Canada, USA or Russia would certainly be appealing.
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