December 31, 2011

How TSN Killed The WJCs

I used to love the World Junior championships. But in recent years my interest has waned significantly

Why? That is a question I have been asking myself a lot this week, and I am no closer to a definitive answer.

Maybe it's that we always win. Or at least we are always in the gold medal game. Is there enough competition to make this tournament truly worthy of all the hype Canadians heap upon it?

The one country that will always compete - and I predict will soon dominate the world juniors - is the United States. The era of the United States dominating hockey is soon upon us. Maybe there's some part of me that does not want to get all caught up in this Canadian celebration because I know all good things come to an end.

Maybe it's that we always host it now. I always enjoyed those ancient locations in the Czech Republic or Switzerland or Russia. Hosting it in Canada or in United States border towns ensures huge dollars, and I get that, but I long for the days of early morning games in Prague or Moscow or Stockholm.

In all honesty, I really think it's the over-the-top nationalism that TSN forces upon us. I love Canada and Canadian hockey more than anybody, but it's just a little too uncomfortable for me. It's a little better now that the excessive Pierre McGuire has departed, but Gord Miller is not a whole lot better.

For me, the descent all started after the 2005 championship. With the NHL lockout in full swing, Canada dominated with a full roster that included Sidney Crosby. You would think in a year with no NHL hockey I would have been ecstatic (you know, like the rest of the country) for such high quality hockey, but somehow I was turned off. I really think it was how overly excited Pierre McGuire was with the whole "Double Dion" thing. I was so turned off that I have never really made the World Juniors a priority in my life ever since. Prior to 2005 that was an unthinkable.

Okay so I can't really blame Pierre McGuire. But for some reason my World Juniors interest has waned and I don't know why. Make no mistake. I will be watching Saturday's much anticipated New Year's Eve showdown with the United States. But will I follow the Canadian kids beyond that? There's no guarantee of that. I missed Jordan Eberle's amazing heroics in 2009. I missed Jonathan Toews' shootout hat trick in 2007. I bought the commemorative DVD featuring those games and other classics, but I haven't watched that either.

Will I see the 2012 gold medal game? Maybe. Or maybe I'll go for a snowshoe instead.


cruiserjoe said...

Could not agree more Joe. TSN was forcing Canadian Nationalism down our throats. In a 16-0 Canadian rout, they would dissect every goal as if it were pivotal to the game. I would have given Macguire a bigger share of the blame but you have shown good restaint. Personally I was glad to see him leave. It is still a great tournament but they have got to turn down the American style hype.

Guerin'sBackcheck said...

You always read my mind. If they enter 2 Canadian teams, hold it in Russia, and let CBC do it, I'll watch. Right now it is an embarassment. The Canadian "win or be shamed" team plays the dirtiest game, lays big league hits, and celebrates wildly while running up the score. A good bunch of them are already NHLers. Shameful. And they still use goals-for as a tie-breaker. There is not enough time in the universe to get me going on Pierre.

jchi said...

Oh come on you guys, you don't know how good you have it up there. I hear what you're saying but I'll forgive TSN for being exuberant, and here's why. Sure, they focus on Canada, but consider that nobody covers this tournament as extensively with a huge slate of games not involving Canada. Example: they broadcast Finland-Denmark LIVE on Friday night. Who else would do that?

I live in the U.S. and I'm just thankful the NHL Network picks up the TSN feed for some of these games, including the aforementioned Finland-Denmark game. Unfortunately they didn't pick up the TSN feed for the Sweden-Russia game -- looks like it was a dandy.

By the way Joe, I got an e-reader for Christmas and the first ebook I bought was Pucks on the Net -- keep up the great work.