As the second World Hockey Challenge in Prague approached, the rosters for all eight participating countries were revealed. Unlike 1976, even the European rosters were made public. Perhaps the biggest change came from the Soviet Union, who would be forced to play without their superstar forward Vladimir Gaganov, who defected to the United States a year earlier. Taking Gaganov's place would be 19-year-old superstar Alexei Yurlov, who many scouts said could even be better than Gaganov. Canada and USA underwent a few personnel changes since 1976. For Canada, goaltender Dennis Carter, and forwards Stuart Burns and Danny Stevenson were new additions, while the United States added goaltender Tim Massey as well as Ted Lovell and college star Tim Gibbons at forward.
In addition to the rosters, uniforms were also revealed over the summer for new entries Great Britain and Czechoslovakia. Finland also unveiled new uniforms featuring the Finnish coat of arms on the front.
The Tournament would begin August 31, 1980 in Prague.