The NHL and NHLPA announced this week that there will be no World Cup in 2020 due to logistics. Logistics meaning there isn’t enough time to plan the event while taking on new projects like the new Vegas expansion and upcoming Seattle expansion (SQUEE!!!) and adding in the possibility of allowing NHL players to play in the 2022 Olympics. With the complete saturation of the sport that is available 9 months out of the year, does it matter to the hockey community that we’re missing having a big international event? (Yes, I know there’s the World Championships, but I don’t count that because it’s during the Stanley Cup playoffs).
NHLPA statement regarding World Cup of Hockey and ongoing discussions with NHL. pic.twitter.com/ytx9F4ZumV
— NHLPA (@NHLPA) January 16, 2019
NHL statement regarding today’s meeting with the NHLPA: pic.twitter.com/ciNYW7knDj
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) January 16, 2019
On one hand, it’s easy to argue that the NHL itself provides enough international play. While approximately 75% of active NHL players are from the US and Canada, the remaining 25% are comprised of players from 15 other countries, including Australia. And isn’t it a delight to see players from all over the world playing on one team? I often wonder if linemates from the same country communicate in their native language and how much of a mindfuck that would be for players on the opposing team. From a business standpoint it also makes sense. Why not focus your attention on expanding the league, creating a profit for years to come?
On the other hand, it’s so much fun to see players that hate each other have to work together and play on the same team. Sidney Crosby and Claude Giroux, I’m looking at you. Add a touch of Brad Marchand and everyone in Canada is cheering for a player that they normally hate (this is the only time I actively cheer for Patrick Kane.) And in the spirit of international competition, it should be the best of the best. To me, that was the disappointing part of the 2018 Olympic hockey tournament. While I did love watching Germany play for the gold medal, the victory seemed almost hollow without the inclusion of most of the world’s best players.
It will be interesting to see if the NHL and NHLPA readdress this issue later, especially in conjunction with the 2022 Olympics. I love hockey. The more chances to watch it, the merrier!
P.S. Go Sharks!