For some strange reason, whether it be because there appears to be a lack of marketing of the tournament over here or I inadvertently forget each year but Canada has once again assembled a team in Davos, Switzerland to represent the country in the worlds oldest hockey tournament, the Spengler Cup. Definitely something the hockey starved should be taking in over the holidays and something I will be watching out of national pride and in a show of support for the boys over in Europe that take time away from their families over the holidays to represent our country. For those who are not overly familiar with the Spengler Cup however, here is a little more on the tournament and its history:
“The Spengler Cup is an annual ice hockey tournament held in Davos, Switzerland. First held in 1923, the Spengler Cup is often cited as the oldest invitational ice hockey tournament in the world. The event is hosted by the Swiss team HC Davos and played each year in Davos, Switzerland, between Christmas (December 25) and New Year’s Day. All games are held at Vaillant Arena.
It was originally devised by Dr. Carl Spengler as a means to promote teams from German-speaking Europe, who might have suffered ostracism in the aftermath of World War I. Eventually, the tournament grew well beyond expectations. Many of Europe’s most prestigious clubs and national programs have appeared, including Soviet, Swedish, Czechoslovak and German powerhouses.
Among non-European organizations, Team Canada, Team USA, nationally ranked NCAA schools, reigning AHL Calder Cup and Ontario Hockey Association champions, and even Team Japan (in 1971 as hosts of the upcoming Sapporo Winter Olympics) have traveled to Davos through the years.”
“In the Spengler Cup Team Canada competes against European club teams, such as HC Davos who host the tournament every year in Vaillant Arena. Canada used to be represented by the standing national team at this event, but since its dissolution is usually made up of Canadians playing in European leagues or the AHL.” Wikipedia
This years team has been made up almost exclusively of Canadian’s playing in Europe for various teams in leagues that span from Russia to Finland but also includes a couple of players current in the American Hockey League (AHL). For the entire roster, please see the link below:
You may recognize some of the names outlined in the roster. Jim Vandermeer spent a dozen seasons in the NHL patrolling the blue line for the likes of the Flyers and Blackhawks. Former Toronto Maple Leaf prospect defenseman and 65th pick (3rd round) overall in the 2001 draft Brendan Bell is currently in Europe playing for HC Biel in the Swiss league. Alexandre Giroux is representing Canada while the center lights up the Swiss league for HC Ambri-Piotta. Former Florida Panther draft pick and current KHL winger Anthony Stewart has also donned the jersey while taking time away from Yekaterinburg Automobilist. Jason Williams, another center who spent a considerable number of years with the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks has also joined HC Ambri-Piotta teammate Giroux in Davos to represent Canada and adds considerable NHL talent to the squad. NHL veteran Glen Metropolit has also been lighting up the Swiss league for HC Lugano and appears to be captaining the squad. Another NHL veteran Chris Mason is in in net paired with former Rockford Icehog (AHL) Allen York, a very solid tandem, at least in my opinion. With the experience and skill levels noted above, I would expect Canada to have another very strong showing in the tournament.
For those that missed it, here is the full first game between Team Canada and HC Vitkovice Steel, Canada coming out on top in a 5-4 victory:
Hopefully between the World Juniors and family and the holidays you can find the time to tune in. Food for thought.