Ah, that week between Christmas and New Years. A few of you will have the time off, others will be overworked, and some, like me, will finally see a break from the soul-crushing pre-Christmas rush.

Many of us will use this time to watch the World Junior Championships, an annual tradition created by Canada's first all sports channel that was desperate for content in its early days.

Nick Robertson, Rasmus Sandin and Mikko Kokkonen want WJC gold

I however, the hockey hipster I pretend to be, will be watching my cherished Spengler Cup tournament. Five European club teams and Hockey Canada's Island of Misfit Toys men's team competing for a championship in a literal cathedral of hockey.

Back when I was working a cushy office job I had time to write stories while at work, rather than be violated by dogs, so you can read up on the history of the tournament here:

What's the Spengler Cup?

The rules have been updated and can be found on the Spengler Cup website:

Regulations & Format

This year’s tournament will begin today and end on New Year’s Eve. The participating clubs are:

Group Torriani

Salavat Yulaev Ufa
KHL representative
Last Spengler Cup appearance: 2014
Last Spengler Cup win: N/A

Ufa has just one former Maple Leaf on the roster (as well as a never was prospect), and he’s found that the waves last longer in Russia than in Toronto.

Nikita Soshnikov (2015-18, 70GP)
Vladimir Bobylyov (2016 5th round pick)

Salavat Yulaev Ufa is currently fifth in the KHL’s eastern conference, well behind first place Ak Bars. They also feature notable ex-NHLers like Alexander Burmistrov, and, uh, Linus Omark.

HC Ambri-Piotta
Fellow Swiss League team
Last Spengler Cup appearance: N/A
Last Spengler Cup win: N/A

No former Maple Leafs on roster

We can’t hold their lack of Leafs against them, they probably tried, but they were able to snag Scottie Upshall...though he’s playing for Team Canada in the tournament. They’ve also lured Matt D’Agostini to their side.

TPS Turku
Second worst team in Liiga
Last Spengler Cup appearance: N/A
Last Spengler Cup win: N/A

No former Maple Leafs on roster

You wouldn’t be at the bottom of the standings if you had some Leafs connections.

Group Cattini

Team Canada
The team that is made up of Canadians
Last Spengler Cup appearance: 2018
Last Spengler Cup win: 2017

Former Leafs:
Kris Versteeg (2010-11, 53GP)
Eric Fehr (2017-18, 5GP)
Daniel Winnik (2014-16, 114GP)
Josh Jooris (Toronto Marlies, 2018-19, 74GP)
Chris DiDomenico (2007 6th round pick, 0GP)

This is the ultimate "That guy isn't retired yet?" team. We have Stanley Cup winners, we have draft picks that never panned out, and we have guys who preferred to be injured rather than play for the Leafs. Canada is always a strong contender in this tournament; tied with host HC Davos for wins at 15, and runners up another ten times. Since 1984 there have only been ten finals that did not feature Team Canada.

HC Oceláři Třinec
2019 Czech Extraliga Champions
Last Spengler Cup appearance: N/A
Last Spengler Cup win: N/A

No former Maple Leafs on roster.

Coming off a big year winning the Extraliga championship, this Czech team is making their first tournament appearance. Their captain is also their most notable player, Lukáš Krajíček, who played in the NHL with the Panthers, Canucks, Lightning, and Flyers until 2010 when he returned to Europe to continue his career.

HC Davos
Host team
Last Spengler Cup appearance: 2018
Last Spengler Cup win: 2011

Fabrice Herzog, (2013 5th round pick, 0GP)

Davos is only four points away from first place in the Swiss league, which isn’t bad for such a home grown club. Unlike first place Zug who brought in a ringer with former Atlanta Thrasher Carl Klingberg. The host team is looking to get one step ahead of Canada with their sixteenth title, first win in eight years, and first finals appearance in seven.

If you want to watch the tournament, you can follow along on TSN2 in Canada - except the gold medal game - and all times are eastern because we’re a biased Toronto blog. You can also find the games on NBCSN in the US according to Wikipedia, but it’s not on the TV schedule.

Game 1: Ambri Potta vs. Salavat Youlaev UFA - Dec. 26th @ 9AM
Game 2: Trinec vs. Canada - Dec. 26th @ 2PM
Game 3: TPS Turku vs Loser of Game 1 - Dec. 27th @ 9AM
Game 4: HC Davos vs Loser of Game 2 - Dec. 27th @ 2PM
Game 5: Winner of Game 1 vs TPS Turku - Dec. 28th @ 9AM
Game 6: Winner of Game 2 vs HC Davos - Dec. 28th @ 2PM

Playoff Round

Game 7: 2nd Place Torriani vs 3rd Place Cattini - Dec. 29th @ 9AM
Game 8: 2nd Place Cattini vs 3rd Place Torriani - Dec. 29th @ 2PM
Game 9: 1st Place Cattini vs Winner of Game 7 - Dec. 30th @ 9AM
Game 10: 1st Place Torriani vs Winner of Game 8 - Dec. 30th @ 2PM

Championship Game

Game 11: Winner Game 9 vs Winner Game 10 - Dec 31st - 6AM TSN1/3/4/5

So, while you’re preparing for the World Juniors games, keep TSN on and check out the Spengler Cup. If for no reason, than the referees are dressed as cows.