Euro Hockey Tour is a yearly ice hockey tournament between Sweden, Russia, Finland and Czech Republic. The format of the tournament has varied over time and in this post you can read about the 2015-16 edition. Euro Hockey Tour is a way of the four involved teams getting some time to play together before the IIHF World Championships in the spring. In 2016 the World Championships are held in Russia.
Euro Hockey Tour 2015-16
This season’s edition of the Euro Hockey Tour consists of two minor tournaments and six games where the teams face each other back to back:
5-8 November 2015: Karjala Cup (hosted by Finland and Sweden).
17-20 December 2015: Channel One Cup (hosted by Russia and Czech Republic).
The back to back games are scheduled in three rounds. Exact dates are not set yet.
Sweden – Finland
Czech Republic – Russia
Sweden – Russia
Czech Republic – Finland
End of April / beginning of May 2016:
Czech Republic – Sweden
Finland – Russia
Former winners of Euro Hockey Tour:
2011/2012 Czech Republic
1997/1998 Czech Republic
Summary: Finland 8, Russia 6, Sweden: 3, Czech Republic 2.
Sort of a Finnish-Russian dominance, at least on the paper. However, in reality the statistics can be explained by the fact that Czech Republic usually is not interested of winning the Euro Hockey Tour. The tournament has kind of low prestige and is usually seen as an annoyance by the club teams. Russia have a large part of their players at home, in KHL which means they can always place a good team on the ice. Sweden currently has their 69 best players in the NHL. Finland is usually motivated by beating their “big brothers” in both the east and the west. There is no correlation between winning the World Championships and the Euro Hockey Tour, mainly because it is not the same team that is on the ice. With a few exceptions, all the nations usually bring in reinforcements from the National Hockey League. However, Euro Hockey Tour is always fun to watch. Perhaps it would be possible to make the tournament more attractive, like the European Championships of football. Maybe run it once every second or fourth year and find a way to bring in players of higher quality? Time will tell.