Group A: Canada Czech Republic Team Europe United States
Group B: Finland Team North America Sweden Finland
Anyone have any thoughts on this tournament? Should make for a good warm-up to the new hockey season and the groups will have some great games despite the goofy "Team North America" and "Team Europe" gimmicks. Plus, it's in Toronto...the fans will be going nuts at every game.
I dislike that it's apparently going to be replacing NHL involvement in the Olympics, which strikes me as a money grab. Olympic exposure for the NHL has been big over the last twenty years, and even given that the next one will be in time-zone nightmare South Korea, I don't think it's wise to back out. It's a money issue, of course. The NHL/NHLPA has to pay to insure its players who go to the Olympics, and they don't directly get revenue back from the IOC for loaning their players. The World Cup is something they'll directly control and earn profits from, making insurance costs more palatable. It just shouldn't always be about money, should it? The Olympics is meant to be above that!
The gimmicky teams are an issue, too. Who's going to buy a Team Rest of Europe jersey, or a Team North America Under Age 23 jersey? Why can 18 year old Patrik Laine play for Team Finland, but 19 year old Connor McDavid is barred from playing for Team Canada? It's all silly and arbitrary, and not at all what we've come to expect from world tournaments like the Olympics and the World Championships.
I care quite a bit about Olympic hockey. I don't care whatsoever about the 'World Cup Of Hockey.'
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