Global Event Features 13 Days of Competition Played On Two Continents; Games in Cologne, Helsinki, St. Paul, Montreal, Prague, Stockholm, Toronto
TORONTO (April 3, 2003) -- Eight of the top hockey nations in the world will compete in the second World Cup of Hockey tournament Aug. 30 through Sept. 14, 2004, the National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) announced today.
Defending champion of the inaugural 1996 World Cup and 2002 Olympic silver medalist United States will be joined by 2002 Olympic gold medal-winner Canada, Russia and defending World Champion Slovakia in the North American pool. The Czech Republic, winners of the 1998 Olympic gold medal, Finland, Germany and Sweden will compete in the European pool.
The tournament venues, schedule and select broadcast partners were announced during a press conference at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, site of the championship game. The World Cup of Hockey is a joint effort of the NHLPA and NHL, in cooperation with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).
"The World Cup of Hockey 2004 will provide the international hockey community with a rare best-on-best tournament format featuring the world's foremost hockey stars from the NHL," said Bill Daly, NHL Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer. "For more than 30 years the NHL has participated in international hockey competition and the World Cup of Hockey 2004 provides a unique opportunity to showcase the game on two continents and adds to the list of historic international tournaments."
"Our long standing tradition in international hockey has seen some of the game's most memorable moments, highlighted by the greatest players in the game," said Ted Saskin, NHLPA Senior Director. "The World Cup of Hockey 2004 promises to continue this tradition, with hockey's latest generation of elite stars showcasing their talents on a global stage. Our members look forward to the opportunity of playing for their country in this best-on-best tournament."
"I hope that the World Cup of Hockey 2004 will be another splendid success story for international hockey, 17 months after the unforgettable Olympic hockey tournament in Salt Lake City," said IIHF President Rene Fasel. "The early Canada Cup tournaments, along with the inaugural 1996 World Cup of Hockey provided fans from all over the world with some of the finest hockey ever played and we certainly don't expect less from this tournament. I thank the NHL and NHLPA for the excellent co-operation leading up to this top class event."
The inaugural World Cup of Hockey was played in 1996. It was born of a rich tradition of international hockey competition that has included the 1972 Summit Series, the Challenge Cup in 1979, Rendez-Vous '87, and a series of Canada Cup Tournaments, last played in 1991. The United States defeated Canada, 2-1, in a thrilling three-game 1996 World Cup final series.
VENUES World Cup of Hockey games will be played at four European and three North American venues. Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland will host games Aug. 30 and Sept. 4. Games will be played at Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden Aug. 31 and Sept. 1; Cologne Arena in Cologne, Germany on Sept. 2; and Sazka Arena in Prague, Czech Republic on Sept. 3. European quarterfinal games will be played at the home venue of the top two European finishers in round-robin play.
Bell Centre in Montreal will play host to games Aug. 31 and Sept. 1. Games will be played at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., Sept. 2, 3, 7 and 10. Air Canada Centre in Toronto will host games Sept. 4, 5, 8 and 11, as well as the championship game on Sept. 14.
Ticket sales information will be announced at a later date.
BROADCAST PARTNERS CBC and SRC will telecast World Cup of Hockey games in Canada. IMG/TWI will serve as the official broadcast and marketing agency of the World Cup of Hockey outside North America and is currently finalizing international broadcast distribution plans. Broadcast plans in the United States will be announced at a later date.
PLAYER SELECTION Rosters will be comprised of 20 skaters and three goaltenders. Each national federation will announce at least 18 members of its team no later than Feb. 1, 2004. The balance of the team must be appointed by June 20, 2004. Each team will conduct a 10-day training camp beginning Aug. 20, 2004, and play two exhibition games prior to the start of the World Cup.
TOURNAMENT FORMAT The World Cup of Hockey opens with round-robin play within the four-team European and North American pools Aug. 30 - Sept. 5. All teams will qualify for the single-elimination playoff games, beginning with the Quarterfinals, Sept. 6-8 (two games each in Europe and North America).
Semifinal games will be played in St. Paul on Sept. 10 and Toronto on Sept. 11. The championship game will be played Sept. 14 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Start times for all games will be announced at a later date.
NHL referees and linesmen will officiate World Cup of Hockey games using NHL rules.