The contrasts will be apparent on Thursday, when they take the ice at Videotron Centre for the first of two games against the other; players on each team said it does not feel like an exhibition, but rather the start of the tournament.
There are similarities as well; neither team has been picked to be a favorite in the tournament, and each would like to upend that.
“We’re not just here to show up and go home after the first round,” Team Europe head coach Ralph Krueger said. “That’s for sure not the reason Team Europe is beginning the process tonight.”
That’s the same mentality Team North America is employing, the same idea of wanting to stick around, wanting to make some noise. But this first game – the first on the road to a World Cup of Hockey title – will be unique, given the circumstances.