Vladislav Tretiak just can't keep a secret.
Two years ago, the head of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation leaked a confirmation that the World Cup of Hockey would return in 2016. Thursday, he broke protocol by revealing the groupings for the the upcoming tournament.
If he's right—and given his position there's no reason to believe otherwise—the two brackets will look like this:
Group A: Canada, Czech Republic, European All-Stars, USA
Group B: Finland, Russia, Sweden, North Americans U23s
First thought? Looks good to us...or at least, as good as it can given the presence of the two unwieldy multinational squads. The Canada-USA and Russia-Sweden prelims promise early intensity and the U23s are shielded from having to play their countrymen, at least through the round-robin.
Although some details are yet to be revealed, it's known that each team will play three round-robin games with the top two in each group advancing to the semifinals. The winners of those games will meet in a best-of-three final.
All games will be played at Toronto's Air Canada Centre from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1.
Each team will be comprised of 20 skaters and three goalies. Preliminary rosters featuring at least 16 players must be named by March 1, 2016, with the balance announced no later than June 1.
Training camps for each team will begin Sept. 4.
No word yet on the management/coaching for the U23s beyond the fact that Hockey Canada and USA Hockey will oversee the team jointly. It's believed that Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper, a dual citizen of both countries, is the favorite to step behind the bench.
Guess we'll have to wait for Tretiak to confirm that, though.