With about six months until the first puck drops for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, the names of the first players that will be part of the international tournament will be announced Wednesday.
All eight teams competing in the World Cup will reveal their preliminary rosters for the event, which starts Sept. 17.
Who will be the first players named to Team Canada and Team USA? Which of the talented rookies dotting NHL rosters will be named to Team North America? How will Team Europe general manager Miroslav Satan bring together players from potentially a half-dozen different countries?
It should make for some interesting debate as the next step in team building takes place.
Team USA, which will be led by Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi and Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella, will announce its initial 16-man roster during ESPN SportsCenter on Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. ET.
Sportsnet and the NHL Network will broadcast a three-hour special starting at 4 p.m. ET featuring the roster unveilings, including live coverage of the announcements by Team Europe (4:30 p.m. ET), Team North America (5:15 p.m. ET) and Team Canada (6:05 p.m. ET).
Team Sweden, including vice president and team leader Peter Forsberg and coach Rikard Gronborg, will make its announcement during a press conference at the MSG Training Center in Tarrytown, N.Y., at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Team Russia will unveil its roster via press release at 3 a.m. ET. Team Finland, led by general manager Jere Lehtinen, will hold a press conference in Helsinki at 4 a.m. ET. Team Czech Republic, with general manager Martin Rucinsky, will hold a press conference in Prague at 11 a.m. ET.
At 7 p.m. ET, NHL Network will air a one-hour special, "NHL Tonight: 2016 World Cup of Hockey Roster Announcement," recapping the news of the day.
The World Cup will take Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, with all games played at Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The games will be televised by ESPN in the United States, and Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada.
The format will feature eight teams separated into two groups for a preliminary round from Sept. 17-22.
The top two finishers in each group will advance to the semifinals Sept. 24-25.
The winners meet in a best-of-three Final with games played on Sept. 27, Sept. 29 and, if necessary, Oct 1.
Group A will consist of Team Canada, Team Czech Republic, Team USA and Team Europe, which will be comprised of the top players from countries outside the four European countries already competing in the tournament (Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden and Russia).
Group B features Team Russia, Team Finland, Team Sweden and Team North America, which will be comprised of the top North American-born players who will be 23 years old or younger as of Oct. 1, 2016.