The Spengler Cup ice hockey tournament gets underway on Tuesday in the Swiss resort of Davos with four of the five teams in action.
First on the ice are home team Davos who take on the Czech side, Sparta Prag, and they're followed later in the day by Jokerit Helsinki from Finland who take on the Germans, Kölner Haie, who won the tournament last year.
The tournament, which always takes place in the week between Christmas and New Year, is a sell-out on most days this year.
Favourites, Canada Selects, will only be in competition on Wednesday.
Traditionally the home squad gets five top stars from the Swiss league to complete the team. This year, Davos firepower is boosted by four Scandinavians and one former Davos star, now playing in Berne, Ivo Rüthemann.
With the strong US and Canadian players who are under contract with Davos, the host team has a good chance of qualifying for the final.
However, Davos trainer, Arno del Curto, has complained bitterly of the stress his team are under with so many national and league matches to play in the run-up to Christmas: "Of course, we'd like to win but how on earth is that possible. My players are exhausted. We'll be glad if we can hold our own in such a strong field."
Among the big names to watch out for are NHL superstar, Mike Peca, who will be playing for Canada Selects alongside NHL veteran, Grant Ledyard, and Benoit Hogue. They will team up with other Canadians who play in the Swiss national league.
It's the 74th Spengler Cup and some 42 years, since Davos took the title.
swissinfo with agencies
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