World Cup Of Hockey Will Return In 2016 In Toronto


While it isn’t any sort of shocking news, the NHL, NHLPA and IIHF officially unveiled the revival of the World Cup of Hockey tournament.

The tournament will feature the top six teams in the IIHF rankings and also will include two gimmick teams for the 2016 tournament. The United States, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Russia and the Czech Republic will be competing for the title along with a North American Under-23 team and a European All-Stars team. Initially, this seemed like horrific concepts, but it was later revealed that all of the parties involved are planning on having a qualification tournament. The qualification tournament is still shady at best, but it will hopefully be expansive and give every team a chance to participate, even if their rank says otherwise.

It is a gigantic sigh of relief to see that a qualifying tournament has always been the plan for the competition. As a soccer fan, one of the best parts of the FIFA World Cup is seeing the underdogs make their way into deep parts of the tournament. This past year was insane with a team like Costa Rica advancing into the Quarterfinals when they were stuck in a group with Italy and Uruguay. They even beat Greece in the Round of 16.

More from Pucks and Pitchforks

Even in hockey, look at how Latvia played against Canada in the last Winter Olympics. Were they getting dominated? Sure. They still almost pulled out the win, however, and it made for great television. If the Czech Republic defeated Canada in the final, would it be an upset? Yeah, of course it would. The reality is, the Czech Republic is still one of the best teams in the world. What will it prove to have the Under-23 team to upset someone? There isn’t any pride associated with that. You can’t wear your countries colors and hold your chin high and say you defeated them. As an Italian, it killed me to see Costa Rica push them aside in the group stage, but I cannot even imagine the pride that their success brought this past summer.

The qualification tournament that they are planning can only add excitement to the tournament, contrary to what many people within the NHL, NHLPA and IIHF may think. Upsets won’t happen every week, every year, or every competition. There may even be incredibly weak group games until the big matchups take place.

Who cares?

People will still watch it and enjoy it if they are hockey fans. What player in their right mind would choose to play for an Under-23 squad or a European All-Stars squad instead of participating in the Olympic Games. If the NHL truly wants this to usurp the Olympic Games in terms of stature, they need to blow the hinges off this tournament.

I love international competitions and would love to see this one take off and flourish. What I don’t want to see, however, is the NHL try to have both ways and make a half-hearted tournament that they hope can take over the Olympics. Players won’t be on board with that and you waste time and resources for it to fold yet again.

But if you can turn it into a global animal over time like the FIFA World Cup, then the NHL may just get their wish.

It’s fun to watch NHL and KHL players play in an international tournament but it is also fun to see players that are there to represent their way in the rawest form that aren’t in the common leagues (KHL, NHL, etc.).

This tournament needs to be everything that the Olympics is and more if they ever want it to hold any sort of sanctity.

Remember the Miracle on Ice? Yeah, you don’t need only NHL players to make the games exciting (despite what Bill Daly will have you think).

Next: Elias Selected By Team Toews in Fantasy Draft