Montreal Canadiens and Bell Centre To Host Four Nations Face-Off

Will there be any Montreal Canadiens playing in the Four Nations Face-Off at the Bell Centre next February?
United States v France - 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Czechia
United States v France - 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Czechia / Xavier Laine/GettyImages

International hockey with the top NHL players is long overdue, as the last time we saw the world's best square-off was at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. The top international rivalries add another chapter in February 2025 when Canada, the USA, Sweden, and Finland play in the Four Nations Face-Off. The Canadiens will play a big role in the festivities, as the tournament's first four games will be at the Bell Centre in Montreal. The tournament then shifts to Boston for the final two round-robin games and the Championship final.

The tournament is a precursor to the 2026 Olympics, but to have only four teams is a bit of a swing-and-miss. It needs to be an abbreviated tournament due to being in the middle of the NHL's regular season, but there are some notable omissions. Czechia playing in Boston with David Pastrnak being the main attraction would have been a draw. Likewise, Slovakia's rise as one of the top hockey nations could have helped us get Juraj Slafkovsky to play in Montreal.

It's important not to dwell on these omissions, as the four countries participating in the tournament will surely excite hockey fans. Let's look at the schedule and the possible Montreal Canadiens representatives.

2025 Four Nations Face-Off Schedule

The first four games are at the Bell Centre, while the final three are at TD Garden in Boston.

  • February 12th, 8PM ET - Canada vs. Sweden
  • February 13th, 8PM ET - USA vs. Finland
  • February 15th, 1PM ET - Finland vs. Sweden
  • February 15th, 8PM ET - USA vs. Canada
  • February 17th, 1PM ET - Canada vs. Finland
  • February 17th, 8PM ET - Sweden vs. USA
  • February 20th, 8PM ET - CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

The top two teams after a four-team round-robin will play in the Championship Game. The tournament will follow NHL rules, with a regulation win getting three points, an overtime/shootout win getting two points, and an overtime/shootout loss getting one point. The Championship overtime rules will be a 20-minute continuous format like in the NHL playoffs.

Possible Montreal Canadiens Representation

Likely, the Canadiens don't have any locks to make the rosters. A good start to next season would help put some of their best players in contention. Let's look at some Habs who could play themselves onto the bubble of a Four Nations Face-Off roster.

Cole Caufield

Caufield's performance at the recent Men's World Championship didn't do him any favors for making this team. If Caufield hopes to make the roster on the left side, he must beat out Matthew Tkachuk, JT Miller, Jake Guentzel, or Kyle Connor. The centers are probably a lock, with Auston Matthews, Jack Hughes, and Jack Eichel down the middle of the top three lines. The Americans' center depth will push some top guys to the wing, further hurting Caufield's chances.

Nick Suzuki

Some good players will be left off the Canadian roster, as is the case at every level. Let's list the likely centers on Canada's roster: Connor McDavid, Connor Bedard, Brayden Point, Nathan MacKinnon, and Sidney Crosby. Then, there will be players such as Steven Stamkos, Mark Scheifele, Anthony Cirelli, and Mathew Barzal. Nick Suzuki must play the best hockey of his career this fall to crack that forward group.

Sam Montembault

Montembault might be the most interesting name in the lead-up to the tournament. If there's one area of weakness for the Canadians it's in net, as there is a group of goaltenders with no frontrunner. Thanks to their winning pedigrees, Jordan Binnington and Adin Hill are projected to be the representatives, but Stuart Skinner could get his name in the conversation more if he can win four more games in the 2024 playoffs. Montembault and Connor Ingram are on the outside looking in but will be on the shortlist.

Joel Armia

Finland has a lot of depth up front but their style of play requires defensive forwards who will wear down the opposition. Armia isn't the biggest name on this list, but he's likely the one with the best chance of playing in the Four Nations Face-Off. Don't be surprised if Armia is on the Finnish fourth line and trying to shut down the high-powered Canadian and American powerplays.