World Cup of Hockey

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For the annual IIHF-sanctioned tournament, see Ice Hockey World Championships. For other hockey World Cups, see World Cup.
World Cup Hockey.jpg

The World Cup of Hockey is 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 World Ice Hockey 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 Cup[edit]

Further information: Canada Cup

The World Cup of Hockey was preceded by the Canada Cup, which began in 1976 in a combined effort from Doug 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 Hockey[edit]

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.

The next installment of the tournament is supposed to take place in the summer of 2016.[3] During the timeframe of the 2014 Winter Olympics men's ice hockey tournament, in mid-February 2014 NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and the NHLPA discussed the likelihood of the World Cup of Hockey competition returning, without any interference to the NHL's participation in any future Winter Olympics' ice hockey competition.[4]

The plan for the future is to hold the World Cup of Hockey every two years in September as a preparation for players for the upcoming NHL season as well as a part of marketing of the NHL. There are efforts to make a tournament on a regular basis comparing to an on and off event that has been the case so far.


1996 World Cup trophy

In 2004, award-winning Canadian architect Frank Gehry designed a new trophy for the tournament. It is made from a composite alloy of copper and nickel as well as solid cast urethane plastic.[5] The trophy was criticized by the sports community, noting the Toronto Sun's headline "What is that?"[6]


Year Champion Runner-up Semi-finalists
1996  United States  Canada  Russia and  Sweden
2004  Canada  Finland  Czech Republic and  United States

See also[edit]


  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. ^
  4. ^ Rosen, Dan (February 18, 2014). "Bettman: World Cup of Hockey could return". National Hockey League. Retrieved February 18, 2014. 
  5. ^ Baurick, Tristan (May 13, 2004). "Architect's love of the game inspiration behind Cup trophy", Ottawa Citizen, p. C2.
  6. ^ 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