The passion created by the 1972 Summit Series, when the NHL's best players barely overcame the mighty Red Army of the Soviet Union, was the spark that led to what is today the World Cup of Hockey. It was the first time in hockey history that the absolute best players had gone head to head on the ice - NHL players weren't eligible to play in the Olympics or World Championship at the time - and the powers that be in the hockey world wondered what it would be like to organize an absolute best on best world tournament competition.
The Canada Cup, forerunner to the World Cup, was born and first held in 1976. Canada won the event but surprisingly, it was the Czechs and not the Soviets, who were in a retooling mode, that face the Canadians in the final.
World Cup Of Hockey Betting Odds
Look no further for all of your World Cup Of Hockey betting odds. Each game's betting lines can be seen below so arm yourself with all knowledge possible prior to placing your wagers.
Canada Cup was an appropriate handle for this event, because between 1976-1991, Canada won four of the five Canada Cups, stopped only by the Soviets in 1981.
When the tournament evolved into the World Cup, it actually began as a North Ameican Cup, with the United States edging Canada in an exciting best-of-three final in the first World Cup of Hockey in 1996.
Canada returned to the fore in 2004, stopping Finland in the final, and after back-to-back Olympic gold medals in 2010 and 2014 and a world title in 2015, you'll be hard-pressed to find someone to suggest that the 2016 World Cup of hockey won't be Canada's tournament to lose.
What Are The Current World Cup Of Hockey Standings
Here's where you will get all the details you'll need about the World Cup of Hockey standings in order to determine how you want to go with your World Cup of Hockey wagers.
While the 82-game NHL regular-season schedule is viewed as a marathon, the round-robin stage of the World Cup of Hockey is like the Olympic 100-metre run, a full-out sprint to the finish. Any misstep, stumble or loss of focus could be the difference between going on to the semi-final stage or packing up and going home.
The top two teams from each of the two World Cup of Hockey divisions will advance to crossover semi-finals from the group stage, and if you're looking for the group of death in this tournament, it's the division that houses three world powers - Russia, Sweden and Finland - all of who have played in a tourney final or won the tourney, but one of which is going to fail to advance.
World Cup Of Hockey Online Betting Tips
If you like betting favorites, then you probably won't like the future lines on the World Cup of Hockey being offered by the major sportsbooks. It's Canada, Canada and more Canada when it comes to picking a winner. There isn't a sportsbook out there that doesn't like Canada to win it all. In fact, they absolutely love Canada's chances.
BetOnline lists Canada at +100, and that's one of the best prices you'll find on the Canadians. Canada is followed by Russia, Sweden and Team USA all at +450. Finland and Team North America are at +1400, while the Czech Republic and Team Europe are the longshots on the board, opening at odds of +2500.
TopBet is also on Canada's side, listing the Canadians at -125, followed by Russia (+450), Sweden (+500), the United States (+550), Finland (+1200), the Czech Republic and Team North America (+2000) and lastly, Team Europe (+3300).
Bovada opens with Canada at -105, followed by Russia (+400), Sweden (+500), the U.S.A. (+600), Finland (+1400) and Team North America (+2300).
Where Can I Bet On World Cup Of Hockey Online
Canada has played in all seven Canada Cup/World Cup of Hockey finals, so perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise at all that the Canadians are heavily favored. Canada has shown in recent years that it can beat the best in the world at any event, in any venue and on any size ice surface.
Now as history shows us, determining who will face Canada in the final, that's a bit more of a daunting challenge. Most sportsbooks seem to like the Russians as the second betting choice. The Russians did win the 1981 Canada Cup and also played in the 1987 final, but in point of fact, lately, Russia has been coming up with uninsipired, subpar performances on the world stage.
Team USA is another with a solid World Cup of Hockey history, winning the tourney in 1996 and playing in the 1991 final. The Americans were silver-medal winners at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, but like the Russians, haven't been bringing their A game on the world stage in recent years.
When it comes to underacheivement, no country can outdo Sweden. The 1984 Canada Cup finalists did win the Olympic title in 2004, but their core is aging and they seem unlikely winners. Same for the Czechs, who look to be in transition mode as well.
If you're looking to go off the board, take a hard look at Finland. The Finns won the World under-18 and junior titles last year, were silver medallists at the worlds and bronze medallists at the 2014 Olympics. You'll get a good price on the Finns and if there's any team capable of giving Canada a run for its money, Finland might be that country.