The World Cup of Hockey is all but a lock to return in 2016 after a 12 year absence per Chris Johnston of Sportsnet http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/toronto-to-host-2016-world-cup-of-hockey/
In the last World Cup of Hockey in 2004, the tournament featured just 8 teams and that made sense, but with the continued growth of hockey internationally, the tournament should go to a 12 team format and it will still feature some great hockey.
Unlike in the Olympics, the World Cup of Hockey should feature two 6 team round robin pools instead of 3 pools. Each pool should have teams by order of their IIHF ranking. This would allow for more big time matchups in pool play and help generate and build excitement. Sweden vs Canada and Russia taking on Finland and the US? I’ll take that any time.
Once pool play is completed, the top 2 teams in each pool should be rewarded with byes into the quarterfinals. However, no team should be eliminated after pool play, the teams who did not get byes should still advance to the qualification playoff round and play each other to determine who advances to the quarterfinals. It truly gives every team a chance to compete in the tournament. If the tournament occurred in 2014, it would something like this:
Pool A: Pool B:
Czech Republic USA
Some other changes id like to see is overtime format changes. Unlike the Olympics and the world championship, no playoff round games should have shootouts a part of the game. In pool play there can be shootouts but overtimes should be extended to 10 minutes to give a much better chance of finding a winner in OT. No team should ever be eliminated out of contention by a shootout. Shootouts should be in pool play only.
The gold medal game should be a best of 3 just like the 1996 version. Build the excitement and intensity. USA-Canada would be must see tv in a best of 3. Would have a real chance of being a huge success in America.
If the NHL can make sure that the players continue going to the Olympics and then the World Cup takes place every 4 years, there will be a major international hockey tournament every 2 years. That would be awesome for hockey and would really help the game grow and build a bigger fan base internationally but especially in America. There would be some awesome hockey between the best players in the world. This is a tournament I can’t wait for. The World Cup of Hockey coming back is great news for all hockey fans.