Winner of three-team tourney to get Victoria Cup
MOSCOW, Russia -- Europe's best club will challenge an NHL team next year in the Victoria Cup.
The International Ice Hockey Federation said Tuesday the winner of the European Champions Cup will participate in the new tournament, which will also include an unidentified NHL team and at least one other European club.
IIHF president Rene Fasel said he hoped to get a team "with some history" for the inaugural tournament, which is scheduled for September 2008. The other European team could come from the tournament's host city.
Eventually, the IIHF aims for Stanley Cup champions facing their European counterparts each year.
"It will be good to see how both leagues stand up against each other," Columbus Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash said.
But Nash was concerned about extending the NHL season, which is much longer than the European season.
"It can take a toll on your body," Nash said.
The Victoria Cup champion will receive $822,000, with a total of $14 million in prize money to be distributed throughout the tournament.
Fasel called the tournament a milestone in bridging relations between the world hockey federation and the NHL, and IIHF general secretary Horst Lichtner said he believed the NHL would send its best players.
"It will be exciting for them to play this and they can't hide," Lichtner said. "This is also an attractive financial incentive for the NHL, which we see as motivation."
The trophy is named after the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal, the birthplace of organized hockey.
The tournament is part of the IIHF's 100th anniversary year, which also includes the world championships in Canada in 2008, with Quebec City and Halifax as host cities.
The IIHF also plans to recognize 18 players in the exclusive Triple Gold Club who have won the Stanley Cup, the Olympics and the worlds.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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