Every four years, fans of the National Hockey League have been treated to Olympic ice hockey. You can add another international competition to the list as the NHL plans to hold the World Cup of Hockey regularly every four years as well. Once known as the Canada Cup — a tournament dominated by the Canadians — the NHL changed the eight-team championship to the World Cup of Hockey in 1996. The inaugural tournament didn’t disappoint as it featured Canada and Team USA in the final — a match the Canadians were heavily favored in. [+]

A star-studded American team went on to shock the hockey world by defeating Canada and taking home the gold medal in convincing fashion. Fast forward eight years later and Canada would get its revenge. The Pat Quinn-led Canadians defeated Finland to win the 2004 World Cup of Hockey gold medal.

Vincent Lecavalier was spectacular for Canada that year, posting two goals and five assists in seven games played. He went on to earn most valuable player honours at the tournament. It also marked the final international competition for then 39-year-old Mario Lemieux, who went on to win gold for the last time.

Then tournament format is simple: Eight teams are placed in two groups of four with each playing one another in a round-robin. The teams are then seeded heading into the knockout stage.

World Cup Of Hockey Betting Lines Today

The action all begins on Sept. 17 when Team USA squares off against Team Europe in a highly anticipated Group A showdown. The Americans boast a lethal attacking game, led by none other than three-time Stanley Cup champion and Hart Trophy winner Patrick Kane. [+]

Later on in the day, Canada begins its quest to defend its crown when they take on Czech Republic in what is sure to be a sold-out crowd at the Air Canada Centre. It will be a tough test early on for the Canadians, but one that they can withstand and earn a victory.

Keep track of the complete schedule using the competition widget, which offers up-to-date live odds, before placing your bets during the World Cup of Hockey.

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World Cup Of Hockey Standings Right Now

Expect the usual suspects to be at the top of each group when the World Cup of Hockey gets underway. In Group A, Canada should top the group, while in Group B it'll be a race between Russia and Sweden for the No. 1 spot in the standings. [+]

Be sure to keep track of where your team sits in the standings before putting your money down during the World Cup of Hockey.

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How To Win At World Cup Of Hockey Betting

Excitement is building for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, but there’s possibly nobody more hyped to watch the tournament than the Great One himself — Wayne Gretzky.

The four-time Stanley Cup champion is “excited” for the tournament to start next month and to watch Canada attempt to successfully defend its title.

“I’m really excited for the NHL and for the people that are going to get to see it this time,” Gretzky told NHL.com. “I think it’s a notch above what we participated in, although our Canada Cups were wonderful.”

Canada enters the tournament as the odds-on favorites according to Bovada, which has the defending champions at -105 to win the tournament. The Canadians are favorites for good reason. With Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos and Jonathan Toews leading the way, the Canadians boast one of the best offenses in the tournament. The health of Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price will be key in the tournament. Price missed the majority of the NHL season in 2015-16 and will need to be in top for if Canada stands a chance to repeat as champions.

Canada’s biggest challenge will be Alexander Ovechkin and Team Russia, which Bovada has at +400 to come out on top. The Russians also boast a potent offense that features Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Vladimir Tarasenko.

Sweden rounds out the top three favorites at +500 according to Bovada oddsmakers. A sleeper team to keep an eye on is Team North America, which consists of the best under-23 stars in the NHL including 2015 No. 1 and 2 overall picks Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, respectively. Bovada has Team North America at +1600 to win it all.

Ready to put your money on the World Cup of Hockey? Here are some online sportsbook options that will make your betting decisions easier moving forward.