Skip to main content

World Cup Returns But Can Never Replace Olympics

The underwhelming media and fan response to the NHL's announced plans to bring back the World Cup of Hockey is interesting.

It probably didn't help that the key introductions - namely the two gimmicky bonus teams, one of Europeans from nations outside the big four and one of North Americans 23 and younger - were leaked weeks ago.

But it is those two teams that have people dismissing the tournament as nothing more than a narrow-minded cash grab. The irony is the NHL has never understood how to generate tangible returns from the international game. This in-house production will bring in money for the players and league, but it is but a fraction of the international hockey market's potential.

Many have long been predicting a follow up announcement (likely still a ways away) that the NHL will end it's participation at the Olympics will come. The problem being the appetite for best-on-best international hockey has always been strong and perhaps it has never been more in demand than now. The fans love international hockey, and they want it at it's best.

The World Cup - and it's predecessor the Canada Cup - have created some of the greatest moments in hockey history (despite constant mishandling). I could even argue that the September tournament generally provides for better hockey, thanks to more training and coaching time.

But nothing can match the spectacle of the Olympics. It is sports' grandest stage. And hockey - but not the NHL - is king of the winter games. The NHL gets zero direct financial benefit from the Olympics - and that is wrong. Yet the NHL can not possibly walk away from the Olympics and hope this gimmicky World Cup will measure up, can they? No way. The Olympics cast too large of a shadow over all other hockey tournaments. The World Cup is most certainly doomed if it is to attempt to replace them.

Now the NHL's bigger picture plan might be to eliminate the gimmicky teams over time and grow the tournament to include more true national teams. If that truly is the case the NHL needs international hockey and more emerging national teams. As much as they might not want to return to it (and with valid reasons), the only NHL international hockey initiative that can accomplish that is continued Olympic participation.


Hallwings said…
Somebody get a Commissioner that actually knows how to do and international hockey tournament, unlike Buttman (I misspelled him name on purpose).

Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M