Before it was the the World Cup of Hockey, it was the Canada Cup. But no matter the name of the tournament, you could argue that it's always been Canada's cup. Since the World Cup of Hockey was first given birth to as the Canada Cup back in 1976, the first international hockey tournament to ever pit all of the world's elite players against one another, Canada has proven to be the powerhouse country in the event. The Canadians have played in every final of the Canada Cup/World Cup of Hockey, winning five of seven tournaments, including the first one and the most recent one in 2004.
Overall, Canada is 39-8-6 in the history of the tournament and twice the Canadians have rolled through the event without suffering defeat - going 6-0-2 in the 1991 Canada Cup and 6-0-0 in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.
Best Canada Hockey Team Bettting Lines
When you study the Canadian roster for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, how can you bet against them?
Canada's team includes three Hart Trophy winners (Sidney Crosby, Carey Price, Joe Thornton), three Art Ross Trophy winners (Crosby, Thornton, Jamie Benn), two Vezina Trophy winners (Price, Braden Holtby), two Rocket Richard Trophy winners (Crosby, Steven Stamkos) and two Norris Trophy winners (Duncan Keith, Drew Doughty).
There are also 14 returnees from the team that went 6-0 while winning the gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, not to mention 11 players who show a Stanley Cup win on their resume of hockey success stories.
Over its history, the Canada Cup/World Cup of Hockey has often proven to be a coming-out party or a last hurrah for many Canadian hockey heroes.
While the 1976 tournament was the swan song for the likes of Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito and Bobby Hull on the international stage, it opened the hockey world's eyes to just how talented and dominant Denis Potvin was on defense.
Wayne Gretzky was the leading scorer at the 1981, 1984 and 1987 tournaments, the latter turning into a showcase event for Gretzky and Mario Lemiux, who combined for 14 goals and 39 points. Gretzky again led the scoring parade in 1991 but it was another Canadian, teenager Eric Lindros, who turned heads, collecting 3-2-5 totals in eight games.
Lemieux bade farewell to the big stage in 2004 with five points, but it was Vincent Lecavalier (seven points), and two above-average Joes - Thornton and Sakic, with six points apiece - who were Canada's leaders.
Canada Hockey Team Schedule
If you are looking for a reason why Canada has dominated the World Cup of Hockey beyond the depth of talent available at its disposal, look no further than the ice surface they skate upon.
The World Cup of Hockey is played in NHL-sized rinks, and governed by NHL rules. It's their turf, and it's their game.
All of the games at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey will be played right in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre, as the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs becomes home to men wearing a different Maple Leaf on the front of their hockey sweaters.
Canada Hockey Team Standings
In a short tournament such as the World Cup of Hockey, getting off to a good start is essential, because it will determine placing for the playoff round.
Only the top two teams in each of the two groups will advance to the playoff round, so a losing streak is not only disconcertaing, it will likely prove fatal.
Canada is grouped with the Czech Republic, United States and Team Europe and if you're looking for a game that could swing the outcome of this division, it's likely Sept. 20 when the Canadians and Americans clash.
Getting through to the playoffs shouldn't prove a problem for Canada. The Canadians have finished atop their pool in six of seven previous tournaments and have never fared worse than second overall.
How To Win At Canada Hockey Team Betting
When it comes to the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, there's a lot of love out there for Canada. Not only won't you find a sportsbook that isn't listing Canada to win the tournament in their World Cup futures wagering, all of them are posting Canada as a prohibitive favorite.
Bovada has Canada opening at -105, with Russia the second choice at +400. BetOnline likes Canada at +100, with Russia, Sweden and the United States all co-second favorites at +450. SportsBetting is offering the same lineup of odds as BetOnline.
TopBet is all over Canada at -125, followed by Russia at +450. BetVictor has Canada at odds of +110, with Russia next at +400. Sports Interaction goes for Canada at -149, while William Hill places the odds on Canada winning at +100.
Could Canada again turn to an unlikely hero in goal during the 2016 World Cup of Hockey? There's a long history of Canadian netminders emerging fromt the shadows to play starring roles in this event, right from the first Canada Cup in 1976, when Rogatien Vachon, just elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2016, supplanted the more likely No. 1 in Gerry Cheevers and went 6-1 with a 1.39 goals-against average and .940 save percentage to lead Canada to the crown.
In 1991, Bll Ranford got the nod over Sean Burke and Ed Belfour, leading the way to a title with a 1.75 GAA and .939 save percentage.
So who's going to be the unsung hero in 2016? Well, how about Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals? With 2014 Olympic hero Carey Price rebounding from a season-ending groin injury, Holtby, the 2015-6 Vezina winner, just might prove to be Canada's go-to goalie.