WASHINGTON -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman hopes hockey fans are just as excited to see the 16-man World Cup of Hockey rosters as he was.
Bettman said after an event at the U.S. Capitol that his reaction to the rosters released Wednesday was "whoa." Russia, Finland, the Czech Republic and Sweden have released their first 16, while the 23-and-under Team North America, Team Europe, Canada and the United States are set to announce theirs later in the day.
Even though the World Cup doesn't start until Sept. 17, Bettman said the rosters make the event "real" after months of it being a concept. Teams don't have to name full rosters until June 1, but this was a substantial start toward building anticipation for the World Cup.