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What Exactly Is The WCOH?

If you were wondering what the World Cup is, here’s a brief look at what the WCOH is and where it came from.

Hockey: World Cup of Hockey-Pre Tournament-Team USA vs Team Canada Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

As the days count down to the start of the WCOH we at M&G thought we’d take a look at the history of the WCOH and where it came from.

The WCOH as it’s constituted today has only been around for 10 years. It became the tournament it currently is in 1996 and this will be the 3rd version of the WCOH to played since it’s inception. What is now known as the World Cup began as the Canada Cup, which ran from 1976-1991. This was a way for the best pro players to be involved in a tournament within their own countries because pro players weren’t allowed in the Olympics at the time. Over that 15 year run the nations represented in the the Canada Cup were Canada, Sweden, Soviet Union, United States, Germany Czechoslovakia and Finland. Canada ruled the Canada Cup winning the tournament 4 out of the 5 times it was played. The Soviets won the only other Canada Cup back in 1981. The United States, Czechoslovakia and Sweden each found themselves as bridesmaids, but never hoisted the trophy in their 5 appearances.

After the 1991 final between Canada and the United States, the Canada Cup ceased to exist. The Cup was renamed the World Cup of Hockey in 1996 and has occured twice, with the 3rd edition happening this September. The WCOH is now scheduled to occur every 4 years, instead of the 8 and 12 years between tournaments so far. Originally the teams involved were Canada, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Germany and Slovakia. In the inaugural edition in 1996, the United States pulled off a stunning upset to win the first WCOH over Canada. Canada would get a second chance to win the WCOH and succeeded by beating Finland in 2004.

The 2016 WCOH is taking place in Toronto and will start on September 17th and will run through Oct 1st. One of the differences in this tournament is the addition of Team North America and Team Europe. Both squads feature the best talent from NA and Europe under the age of 23. Other nations playing for the trophy are Canada, United States, Sweden, Finland, Russia and the Czech Republic. In 2018 the WCOH will feature a European All Star Team against a NA All Star Team in a yet to be determined number of games and in 2020 the All Star teams will be eliminated in favor of qualifying teams.

Canada Cup 1976

Champion: Canada

Runner Up: Czechoslovakia

MVP: Bobby Orr

Canada Cup 1981

Champion: Soviet Union

Runner Up: Canada

MVP: Vladislav Tretiak

Canada Cup 1984

Champion: Canada

Runner Up: Sweden

MVP: John Tonelli

Canada Cup 1987:

Champion: Canada

Runner Up: Soviet Union

MVP: Wayne Gretzky

Canada Cup 1991:

Champion: Canada

Runner Up: USA

MVP: Bill Ranford

World Cup of Hockey 1996

Champion: USA

Runner Up: Canada

MVP: Mike Richter

World Cup of Hockey 2004

Champion: Canada

Runner Up: Finland

MVP: Vincent Lecavalier

Canada Cup All Time

Wins: Canada (28)

Losses: Sweden (17)

Goals For: Canada (181)

Goals Against: Finland (116)

Points: Wayne Gretzky (57)