While most Canadians are focusing on the World Juniors in Malmo, Sweden and the return to the NHL action including the upcoming Winter Classic, don't forget the Spengler Cup is also being played right now.
The Spengler Cup is an annual invitational ice hockey tournament held in Davos, Switzerland and played between Christmas and New Year's Day. It is the second oldest hockey club tournament in the world, after the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The first tournament was held back in 1923, with the Oxford University Ice Hockey Club, comprising Canadian students including future Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, winning the championship.
Oxford was awarded the Spengler Cup, named after the tournament's founder, Dr. Carl Spengler of Davos.
Over the years the tournament was essentially held for European teams, with Soviet and Czechoslovakian teams dominating in the 1960s though to the 1980s.
In 1984 Team Canada formed a team made up mostly of Canadian players on Christmas break from various club teams around Europe. Canada has won the Cup twelve times. Despite putting a team together with almost zero practice time, Canada has appeared in 10 of the last 12 championship games.
Interestingly, the tournament was always played outdoors until 1978.
You can visit the Spengler Cup's official website. For more history, including a list of champions, check out Wikipedia's Spengler Cup site.
You can also check out Team Canada's website. There's quite a few former NHLers on the team, including Micki Dupont, Brenden Bell and Joel Kwiatkowski on defense and Glen Metropolit, Byron Ritchie and Anthony Stewart on forward. Chris Mason is in net. It's a bit of a "oh yeah, whatever happened to him" line up, but it makes for good hockey.
This year’s Spengler Cup will include Canada’s National Men’s Team, HC Vitkovice Steel (Czech Republic) and HC Davos (Switzerland), the host team, playing in the Cattini Group, and CSKA Moscow (Russia), HC Genève-Servette (Switzerland) and the Rochester Americans (AHL) playing in the Torriani Group.