The idea that the World Cup of Hockey makes no logical sense is one that is absolutely tried, true and tested.
As little as soccer impacts the American sports scene, the game takes the rest of the world by storm every four years for what can be considered the greatest of all tournaments: the World Cup.
It needs no clarification.
When referring to an international hockey tournament, an event that usually occurs only during the Winter Olympics, clarification is necessary. This year in Toronto, the World Cup of Hockey will be played.
First of all, the World Cup of Hockey is a rare event. The tournament is not yearly, nor is it every four years. It almost seems to be a spontaneous occurrence. First, in 1996 and again in 2004, this would only be the third time the tournament has been played. The lack of teams and lack of reason is something that is turning true hockey fans away from the event, yet again. That doesn’t sum up, however, everything that doesn’t seem quite right about the World Cup of Hockey.
One of the best aspects of the World Cup (of Soccer) is that there are so many teams. Every four years there are hundreds of countries trying to qualify. At the end of qualifiers, there are thirty-two teams that make it, who are placed into eight groups of four. Every country plays all three other teams in their group just once, and based on wins and goal differential, two of those teams move on to a sixteen-team knockout stage … so on and so forth. In the World Cup of Hockey, there are eight teams. Only eight.
Even worse than that, two of those teams aren’t even represented by countries. There are six countries (Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden, and the United States), and two continent teams.
Those two teams are Team Europe, which consists of players from European countries that don’t have enough players to create a whole team, and Team North America, which thankfully does not consist of Mexican and Central American hockey players, but rather all players from Canada and the United States that are under twenty-three years old.
It just seems a little cheesy.
The worst part about it all is that it’s being played in September. In what world would it make sense for all of the NHL’s All-Stars to come together in a tournament, that truly bears no great reward, right before their paid professional season begins? Especially for fans from the Hudson River Rivalry, Henrik Lundqvist (Sweden) and Cory Schneider (United States) are starting goalie options.
No New York Rangers fan, nor New Jersey Devils fan wants to see their goalie get hurt, just weeks before the season. Fans will sit back and watch, and wince every time a player seems to be in discomfort.
The World Cup of Hockey is just a moneymaker for Mr. Gary Bettman. It was his idea, after all. It’s truly impressive the amount of damage he has done to the league, and how much more damage he can do, especially with this ridiculous tournament.