The World Cup of Hockey’s rebirth will reportedly be staged in Toronto in September of 2016, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.
The tournament has been on a hiatus for the past ten years. The last World Cup was also held in Toronto, with Canada defeating Finland 3-2 in the tournament final at the Air Canada Centre. The expectation would be that the tournament would once again be played prior to the NHL season, as the last installment took place from August 30th-September 14th, 2004.
There are reasons as to why this isn’t a great idea. If this does replace the Olympics, as it’s expected, you won’t see some of the weaker teams being able to put out their best rosters due to players competing in their leagues. Unlike the NHL, many hockey leagues like to be finished before the midway part of June. The leagues could alter their schedules to start later in the year, but why should they confide to what the NHL wants when their schedule already works for IIHF competition?
If the tournament goes to a 8 team format, like back in 2004, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Belarus and France would all miss out on the tournament, as well as teams with multiple solid NHLer’s like Austria and Denmark. Those are a bunch of solid teams on the rise in the international scene that would now have to sit the event out. For teams like Slovakia, who had 15 players from outside the NHL playing on the Olympic roster this year, would have to take players off their club teams just to fill the roster. How should the KHL feel about that?
The Canadian media would obviously be all over the tournament, but what about the Americans? Between the long 8 year gap and holding the 2004 tournament with the then-impending lockout hanging over the players, the 2004 tournament was not well basically ignored by the American media.
Also, if NHL’ers are so reluctant to play in the World Championships, why would the threat of missing the start of the season due to an injury in the World Cup be any different? Yes, the NHLPA does get a big cut of the profit, but will they think it’s such a great idea if Pierre Mcguire’s BFF Sidney Crosby gets injured and misses half the season?
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