The Victoria Cup: NHL v Europe

IIHF announces NHL-European Victoria Cup

By IHWC.NET staff (link:>
KHODYNKA—May 8, 2007

History was made today when the IIHF announced the first-ever tournament on European soil featuring club teams from the National Hockey League and champions from the European leagues. The Victoria Cup will be competed for on an annual basis beginning September 2008. It will be a three-team competition, two teams from Europe and one from the NHL. The series is the first ever initiative to pit the top teams from North America versus the top teams from Europe.

This announcement was one of several which are the focus of the IIHF’s 100th anniversary celebrations which kick off this fall.

The IIHF will replace the European Champions Cup with the new Champions Hockey League. This will consist of a series of stages among the top European club teams beginning in 2008 and will be the basis for determining which teams will be eligible to compete for the Victoria Cup. The CHL is modelled after soccer’s successful Champions League.

The IIHF will formally recognize the Victoria Skating Rink as the birthplace of hockey. On March 3, 1875, the first true hockey game took place at that rink in Montreal. It was an indoor game featuring two teams, a referee, and a puck. The score was recorded, and the game was reported in the Montreal Gazette the day of the game to attract the interest of fans. A report was published in the Gazette the next day detailing the events of the game. A commemorative marker will be placed on the site of the rink which is currently a car rental agency. The rink’s dimensions were 200′ x 85′ and it was this size that has been the standard for every North American rink ever since.

The IIHF will also formalize the Triple Gold Club by awarding commemorative medals to the 18 players who have won the three most prestigious championships in world hockey: Olympic gold, Stanley Cup, and World Championship gold. The ceremony will take place in Canada during next year’s World Championship. The list includes: Tomas Jonsson (SWE), Hakan Loob (SWE), Mats Naslund (SWE), Valeri Kamensky (RUS), Alexei Gusarov (RUS), Peter Forsberg (SWE), Vyacheslav Fetisov (RUS), Igor Larionov (RUS), Alexander Mogilny (RUS), Vladimir Malakhov (RUS), Joe Sakic (CAN), Brendan Shanahan (CAN), Rob Blake (CAN), Scott Niedermayer (CAN), Jaromir Jagr (CZE), Jiri Slegr (CZE), Nicklas Lidstrom (SWE), Fredrik Modin (SWE).

Additionally, the IIHF will commission 50 experts in hockey to determine the all-time international All-Star Team (one goalie, two defencemen, three forwards). These names also will be announced during next year’s World Championship in Canada.

Other celebrations include a coffee-table book celebrating the 100 years of the IIHF. The Top 100 international hockey stories of all time will be presented on starting approximately 100 days before Canada 2008, one day at a time, culminating with the number-one story at the opening of the tournament. On February 29, 2008, there will be a global hockey game. International Fan Day will take place in Canada during next year’s tournament, and the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto will feature a special centennial exhibition on the history of international hockey. An outdoor rink will also be built on the grounds of the IIHF offices and will serve as host to a variety of events over the next season.

The IIHF was founded in Paris on May 15, 1908. Known originally as Ligue Internationale de Hockey sure Glace (LIHG), it organized the first international tournament at Les Avants, France, in 1910. North American teams first competed at the 1920 Olympics, and today the IIHF consists of 63 participating nations worldwide.