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MOSCOW, September 15. /TASS/. Russia’s participation in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey will test the true strength of the national team as the Russian squad will be competing with the best teams around the globe, Vladislav Tretyak, the president of the Russian Hockey Federation (RHF), told TASS on Tuesday.
"The World Cup will be of the benefit for the national team from the athletic point of view as we will be playing against the best teams," Tretyak, who is also a legendary Russian goalkeeper playing for the Soviet squad in early 1970s series of games against Canada, said in an interview with TASS.
"It will be very interesting. I played in two Canada Cups and I know what it is," Tretyak, 63, said. "It will be a grand test for us. It will be the test of our national team and our [Russian] hockey."
Eight teams to take part in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey were divided in two groups. Group A enlists Canada, the United States, the Czech Republic and Team Europe (comprising players from other European countries not taking part in the competition). Group B enlists Finland, Russia, Sweden and Team North America (consisting of under-23 North American players).
Russia will play its first match of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey on September 18 against Sweden, will face the next day Team North America and clash with Finland on September 22.
The World Cup of Hockey is an international successor of the previously famous Canada Cup (held between 1976 and 1991). After the international event was inaugurated in 1996 it was staged only once again in 2004.
The World Cup of Hockey was organized by the NHL and therefore it was played according to the league’s rules unlike annual Ice Hockey World Championships and quadrennial Winter Olympic hockey tournaments, which are sanctioned by the IIHF and are played to different rules.
The matches of the World Cup of Hockey are played outside the NHL regular season allowing best players of the league to compete in the international event unlike the annual World Championships, which usually overlap with NHL’s playoffs.
The previous Canada Cup, which ran between 1976 and 1991 was held five times with four of them won by Canada and one by the Soviet Union team in 1981. The inaugural World Cup of Hockey in 1996 was won by the United States and the next one in 2004 by Canada.