So the next World Cup of Hockey is about a year away. Personally I am excited about this due to the format changes that have been made. Some complain that it will never be more than an exhibition, but that is all it ever was anyway. Just because we had a Cold War lens to view the old Canada Cup through does not mean it actually meant anything. We are talking about playing games here, so really none of these sports mean anything, especially where professionals are in involved. Being a fan of entertainment is just fine in its own right, no one needs to pretend that being a sports fan has some higher purpose. The Olympics may have some great PR about their lofty goals, but just look at the huge amounts of money involved to see how true those ring these days.
I think removing some teams that would likely be blown out and adding the young and euro stars teams can add some real entertaining games to the schedule.
If anyone says this last Olympics was a great hockey tournament then they are kidding themselves. I realize it is easy to lose sight of this when Canada wins because the huge blaring media machine proclaims that they are the greatest, and of course that means they were a flawless group of national heroes, so it must have been an awesome tournament. Truly it was a fairly lackluster performance by almost all involved and the Canadian automatons moving robotically to victory was not very enthralling. Similarly, the 2004 World Cup of Hockey was a boring tournament, but again it was won by Canada so nobody seems to remember the flatness of the event.
If the World Cup of soccer can be the most important thing on earth, then I think the hockey version can become a destination for motivated athletes. That is what these 2 new teams can provide, motivation to show that though they are young or from many nations that they can compete against the best.
If the NHL decides to not send players to future Olympics that may change the way the World Cup should be administered or perhaps it should change when the World Championships happen every year. Having a world tournament where many of the best players cannot come and play makes little sense. However I can’t see corporate North America thinking about anything other than profits, which NHLers at the May worlds will not increase, so the IIHF will probably never move that tourney date.
Let’s give this latest incarnation of the World Cup a chance and see how good the hockey is.