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

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