The Karjala Cup is held in Finland in November and kicks off the national team tournaments that are sprinkled throughout the European hockey seasons.

Usually, there are four teams: Russia, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic.  They form teams made up of their players on European teams and they play a simple round-robin format of three games each.  They go on to play in Russia, Sweden and the Czech Republic at various times of the year.

It’s a great chance for the teams to prepare their national squads for the World Championships and to try out new and younger players.  Carl Grundström played for Sweden at the event in Stockholm this year.  Yegor Korshkov went to the Karjala Cup last November.

This year is different, and to get ready for the Olympics with non-NHL players, Hockey Canada is joining in for  the Karjala Cup.  Also on board is the Swiss national team.

The Canadian team will be made up of players in the KHL, SHL and other European leagues.  The chance to play for the national team might be a factor in the coming decisions of Calder Cup finalist standout Cory Conacher, who could return to Europe and be a lock for the Canadian team.

Look for Brandon Kozun, Justin Azevedo and Jonathan Cheechoo from the KHL to get some attention too.

This team is going to be one of the most interesting teams Hockey Canada has ever put on the ice in recent memory.  And who knows, it may give NHL scouts a second look at players who they’ve written off.