Curtis Joseph leads Canada into Spengler Cup

Seventeen-year NHL goalie Curtis Joseph will backstop a veteran Canadian squad trying to capture the country's first Spengler Cup title in four years as the annual hockey tournament opens Wednesday in Davos, Switzerland (3 p.m. ET).

Curtis Joseph and several other former NHLers are spending the holidays in the Swiss Alps and hope to return to Canada with the Spengler Cup.

It has been four years since a Canadian team won the annual event. Hockey Canada is sending a veteran squad to try to change that, starting with Wednesday's game against Moller Pardubice (3 p.m. ET).

Joseph, a 17-year NHL veteran, is the most notable player on the Canadian team. He last played forthe countryat the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. He alsoplayed for the national team at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and the 1996 IIHF world hockey championship.

For the Spengler Cup, head coach Sean Simpson plus assistants Doug Gilmour and Jim Koleff will have several other former NHLers at their disposal, including captain Serge Aubin, Travis Green, Yannick Tremblay, Ramzi Abid, Mark Giordano, Ric Jackman, Marty Murray and Hnat Domenichelli.

Simpson has been an assistant with five Spengler Cup teams in the past and will get his first chance as the head coach this week. The 47-year-old coaches EV Zug in the Swiss Elite League and loves the atmosphere at this event.

"It's always a great experience and lots of fun," said Simpson. "You're over here all year coaching in Europe, so it's always great to get together with not only the Canadian team, but the Canadian staff."

The tournament features:

  • Host team HC Davos.
  • Yulaev Ufa from the Russian league.
  • Adler Mannheim from Germany.
  • The Czech team from Pardubice.
  • Canada.

The teams play each other once before the top two in the standings contest the final on New Year's Eve.

Canada faces Davos on Thursday, Ufa on Saturday and Mannheim on Sunday.

Last year's team was coached by Pat Quinn and beaten 3-2 in the final by Davos. In fact, Canada has reached the final six of the last seven tournaments, winning in 2002 and 2003.