The World Cup of Hockey was born in 1976 as the Canada Cup and even though the name of the tournament was changed in 1996, truth be told, the event has almost always been Canada's Cup. Five times in seven tournaments, Canada has emerged victorious. The Canadians were losing finalist in both years that they didn't win the title. Canada set the tone for what was to come in the tournament's inaugural game on Sept. 2, 1976, thrashing Finland by an 11-2 count, getting a hat trick from Rick Martin and two goals each from Bobby Hull and Phil Esposito.
That dominance has carried over throughout the history of the event, right through to the most recent World Cup of Hockey in 2004, when Canada went 6-0 and defeated Finland in the final.
Every time Canada sends a team to an international hockey tournament, the roster is loaded with all-stars and future hall of famers, so picking the best of Canada's best is no easy task.
In past Canada Cups/World Cups of Hockey, you can start with the 2004 team that went 6-0, or maybe you want to look at the 1987 Canada Cuo champions who were led by all-worldly performances from Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.
But for our money, the best Canadian team in tournament history was the first one, the 1976 Canada Cup champions. The 21-player roster included 17 future inductees into the Hockey Hall of Fame, such as Bobby Hull, Phil Esposito, Bobby Clarke, Denis Potvin and Marcel Dionne. But the unquestioned leader of the group was Bobby Orr. Playing on surgically-ravaged knees, this event was the last hurrah of Orr's legendary career. The eight-time Norris Trophy winner led Canada in scoring with nine points in seven games was named tournament MVP.
Canada Hockey Team Next Game
It's often said of Canada that it is a country so rich and deep in talented hockey players that the Canadians could easily field two all-star teams in every international tournament.
When you look at the players omitted from the Canadian roster for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, maybe the experts have a point.
Among those who will be watching the World Cup of Hockey on their televisions at home are defensemen P.K. Subban, Kris Letang and Brent Seabrook, forwards Corey Perry, Taylor Hall and Jason Spezza. and goaltenders Roberto Luongo and Marc-Andre Fleury.
That's quite a collection of talent, so maybe it is possible that Canada's B Team would also be a threat for a title were they to be included in the World Cup of Hockey.
Here's where you find all the information on Canada's upcoming games in the World Cup of Hockey and in a short tournament with just three round-robin matches and only two semifinal spots available, there's little margin for error.
Canada gets underway on opening night with a prime time meeting against the Czech Republic, the only team to beat the Canadians in the 1976 Canada Cup. Then it's on to a clash with arch-rival Team USA, which defeated Canada for the 1996 World Cup of Hockey crown.
The Canadians close out the round-robin slate against one of the wildcard entries in this event, Team Europe, an ensemble group comprised of players from European countries other than Russia, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic.
What Are The Current Canada Hockey Team Standings
The standings for Canada's group in the World Cup of Hockey are right below and unlike the gruelling, 82-game NHL regular season, the World Cup of Hockey slate is a sprint to the finish.
Stub your toe, slip up a little, come off it a bit and it could be all over for Canada that quickly, although to be honest, the Canadians are in the easier of the two World Cup groupings.
Canada should defeat a retooling Czech Republic squad, as well as Team Europe, leaving the outcome of the Canada-USA game likely to determine which country will carry the top seed of the two crossover semi-finals from this group and face the second-seeded qualifier from the other group.
Canada Hockey Team Online Betting Tips
When it comes to international hockey, everybody likes Canada and the top sportsbooks are no different when it comes to this line of thinking. You won't find any sportsbook that isn't offering odds on Canada in their World Cup of Hockey as prohibitive favorites to run away with the tournament
The best odds you might find anywhere on the Canadians are at BetOnline and SportsBetting, both of which have Canada at +100 to win it all. The vast majority of sportsbooks are listing Canada to open with a minus-number. Bovada and Bet365 have Canada at -105, while TopBet puts Canada at -125.
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If you ask a Canadian to name the greatest goal ever scored in the country's hockey history, they will immediately point to Paul Henderson's last-minute winner in the final game of the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union. But for many Canadians, Darryl Sittler's overtime winner in the deciding game of the 1976 Canada Cup is a close second.
Prior to OT, Canadian assistant coach Don Cherry pointed out that Czech goalie Vladimir Dzurilla liked to overplay his angles. Coming down the wing midway through the 20-minute overtime session, Sittler faked a shot, drawing Dzurilla from his net, then deked around the netminder to fire the deciding tally in Canada's 5-4 win into the gaping cage.