What You Need to Know About the 2016 World Cup… of Hockey

Missing hockey? It’s back sooner than you think

NHL puck drop may not be until October 12, but thanks to the World Cup, big-name hockey will be back on our screens sooner than we realize. Here’s everything you need to know.

When: September 17 through October 1.

Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto

Who’s in it: The tournament is comprised of eight teams — Team Canada, Team USA, Team North America, Team Europe, Team Finland, Team Czech Republic, Team Russia, and Team Sweden.

Wait, Team North America? And Team Europe?
Yup. While Team Europe is what you’d expect it to be (players from countries that aren’t Finland, Russia, Sweden or the Czech Republic), apparently the U.S. and Canada have so many good players that a 23-and-under team was created for them to be on.

Seems fair, I guess. Who’s on each team?

Let us break it down.

Team Canada

Captain: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins center

Alternate captains: Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks center; Shea Weber, former Nashville Predator/current Montreal Canadiens defenseman

Image via careyprice.net

Other notable names (which in this case is, honestly, the entire team):
 — Goalies: Corey Crawford, Blackhawks; Carey Price, Canadiens; Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals

— Forwards: Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins; Jeff Carter, Los Angeles Kings; Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks (replacing injured Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars); Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche; Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks; Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers; Brad Marchand, Bruins; Tyler Seguin, Stars; Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning; John Tavares, New York Islanders; Joe Thornton, Sharks

— Defensemen: Brent Burns, Sharks; Drew Doughty, Kings; Jay Bouwmeester, St. Louis Blues (replacing injured Duncan Keith of the Blackhawks); Jake Muzzin, Kings; Alex Pietrangelo, Blues; Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Sharks

Team USA

Image via FOX Sports

Captain: Joe Pavelski, Sharks centerman

Other notable names:
 — Goalies: Ben Bishop, Lightning; Jonathan Quick, Kings

Image via The Score; USA v. Russia shootout in 2014 Olympics

— Forwards: David Backes, former Blue/current Bruin; Patrick Kane, Blackhawks, Ryan Kesler, Ducks; T. J. Oshie, Capitals; Max Pacioretty, Canadiens; Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild; Derek Stepan, New York Rangers; James van Riemsdyk, Toronto Maple Leafs

— Defensemen: Ryan McDonagh, Rangers; Ryan Suter, Wild

Team North America

Notable names:
 — Goalies: Matt Murray, Penguins; John Gibson, Ducks

— Forwards: Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs (#1 overall pick in 2016 NHL draft); Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers (#1 overall pick in 2015 NHL draft); Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres (#2 overall pick in 2015 NHL draft); Sean Couturier, Flyers; Jonathan Drouin, Lightning; Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames; Dylan Larkin, Detroit Red Wings; Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche; Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oilers; Brandon Saad, Columbus Blue Jackets; Mark Scheifele; Winnipeg Jets

— Defensemen: Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers; Shayne Gostisbehere, Flyers; Morgan Rielly, Maple Leafs

Team Europe

Notable names: 
 — Goalies: Frederik Andersen, Maple Leafs (Denmark); Jaroslav Halak, Islanders (Slovakia)

— Forwards: Marian Gaborik, Kings (Slovakia); Marian Hossa, Blackhawks (Slovakia); Anze Kopitar, Kings (Slovenia); Thomas Vanek, Wild (Austria); Mats Zuccarello, Rangers (Norway)

— Defensemen: Zdeno Chara, Bruins (Slovakia); Roman Josi, Predators (Switzerland); Andrej Sekera, Oilers (Slovakia)

Team Sweden

Notable names:
 — Goalie: Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers

— Forwards: Nicklas Backstrom, Capitals; Filip Forsberg, Predators; Gabriel Landeskog, Avalanche; Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks; Henrik Zetterberg, Red Wings

— Defensemen: Victor Hedman, Lightning; Niklas Hjalmarsson, Blackhawks; Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

Team Russia

Notable names:
 — Goalies: Sergei Bobrovsky, Blue Jackets; Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning

Image via USA Today

— Forwards: Pavel Datsyuk, former Red Wing/current-KHL (Russian league); Nikolay Kulemin, Islanders; Evgeni Malkin, Penguins; Alex Ovechkin, Capitals; Artemi Panarin, Blackhawks (current NHL Rookie of the Year); Vladimir Tarasenko, Blues

— Defensemen: Alexei Emelin and Andrei Markov, Canadiens

Team Czech Republic

Captain: Tomas Plekanec, Canadiens centerman

Other notable player: David Krejci, Bruins forward

Team Finland

Image via masslive.com

Notable names:
 — Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Bruins; Pekka Rinne, Predators

— Forwards: Leo Komarov, Maple Leafs; Patrik Laine, Jets (#2 overall pick in 2016 NHL draft); Teuvo Teravainen, Blackhawks

— Defenseman: Olli Maatta, Penguins

For complete roster listings, check out NHL.com, and for some thoughts on who should be there but isn’t, see this ESPN.com post.

Sounds cool! So what’s the schedule?

The preliminary round of the tournament, Sept. 17–22, will be played in a round-robin format. The eight teams will be split into two groups of four: Group A will consist of Team Canada, Team USA, Team Europe and Team Czech Republic, while Team North America, Team Sweden, Team Finland and Team Russia will be in Group B. The top two teams from each group will then advance to the tournament semifinals, which will be single-elimination games played Sept. 24 and 25, with a final best-of-three round to be played between the top two teams on Sept. 27, Sept. 29, and Oct. 1 if necessary. Check out the full schedule below:

Preliminary Round (round-robin)

Saturday, Sept. 17

Team Europe vs. Team USA, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2

Team Canada vs. Team Czech Republic, 8 p.m., ESPNEWS

Sunday, Sept. 18

Team Russia vs. Team Sweden, 3 p.m., ESPN

Team Finland vs. Team North America, 8 p.m., ESPN2

Monday, Sept. 19

Team Czech Republic vs. Team Europe, 3 p.m., ESPN2

Team North America vs. Team Russia, 8 p.m., ESPN2

Tuesday, Sept. 20

Team Finland vs. Team Sweden, 3 p.m., ESPN

Team Canada vs. Team USA, 8 p.m., ESPN

Wednesday, Sept. 21

Team North America vs. Team Sweden, 3 p.m., ESPN

Team Canada vs. Team Europe, 8 p.m., ESPN2

Thursday, Sept. 22

Team Finland vs. Team Russia, 3 p.m., ESPN

Team Czech Republic vs. Team USA, 8 p.m., ESPN2

Semifinals (single elimination)

Saturday, Sept. 24

A1 vs. B2, 7 p.m., ESPN2

Sunday, Sept. 25

B1 vs. A2, 1 p.m., ESPN

Final (best-of-three)

Tuesday, Sept. 27

Final Game 1, 8 p.m., ESPN

Thursday, Sept. 29

Final game 2, 8 p.m., ESPN2

Saturday, Oct. 1

Final game 3, 7 p.m., ESPN2 (if necessary)

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