TORONTO -- On a giant stage in front of a giant video board, the NHL took over the floor of the Air Canada Centre today for a star-studded press conference to formally announce details for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Here's a quick recap of the proceedings:
----There will be two groups. Group A will consist of teams from Canada, USA, the Czech Republic and a combined team from across Europe. Group B is Finland, Sweden, Russia and Team North America, the under-23 group that's been previously referred to as Team Youngstars. Players must be under 23 as of Oct. 1, 2016 with Sabres prospect Jack Eichel and Edmonton's Connor McDavid expected to be among the marquee names on that club.
---All games will be at the Air Canada Centre. The first game is Sept. 17, 2016 pitting Team Europe against Team USA. The US and Canada will play on Sept. 20. After pool play, one-game semifinals will be held on Sept. 24-25. The best-of-three final will be played Sept. 27, Sept. 29 and Oct. 1. The full schedule is here.
---Edmonton's Peter Chiarelli and Chicago's Stan Bowman will direct Team North America. Former Sabres winger Miroslav Satan will serve as General Manager for Team Europe. Coaches for teams have yet to be announced.
----Teams will start training camps on Sept 3 and 4 and will open exhibition games on Sept. 7. The Sabres have put in bids for both the camps of Team USA and Team North America and have also applied to host exhibition games in First Niagara Center. Decisions on those sites are likely to be made sometime this month.