NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was full of news on Saturday afternoon at his press conference in Columbus, and arguably the biggest story is that the league will conduct an eight-team World Cup of Hockey tournament in 2016.
That tournament, which will take place in Toronto, will feature six teams from North America and Europe, and will also feature two All-Star teams. One team will be comprised of players 23 years of age and younger, and the other will feature players from European teams that did not qualify for the tournament.
The tournament will begin on Sept. 17, according to Bettman, and could potentially last through Oct. 1. The final will be a best-of-three series, and all games in the World Cup will take place at the Air Canada Centre.
As for the impact that staging the tournament will have on the NHL’s Olympic participation, Bettman said that no decision has been made on whether or not the league will send players to South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Bettman also said that the tournament format will likely change by the time the 2020 incarnation rolls around. In that tournament, the league hopes that eight national teams will participate, and there could potentially be a qualification tournament for the final two spots in the field.