I don't blame the NHL and NHLPA for putting together the World Cup of Hockey. The Olympic hockey tournament is the very best and why wouldn't the NHL and NHLPA want to cash in on such an event? The World Cup of Hockey is theirs, unsanctioned by the IIHF, with NHL rules and NHL refs. I get it...
What I'm struggling with is the under-23 Team North America. This is the team that will star Conner McDavid and will compete against Team Canada. I love best-on-best tournaments when I can get 100% behind Canada as we take on other nations. And the two countries I love to beat most are Russia and the United States.
McDavid and other under-23 Canadian hockey stars will be playing alongside the Americans on that team. This does two things that bother me:
- It dilutes Team Canada, removing some players that I'd like to see play for my country
- It forces me to cheer on the United States if I'm going to root for Team North America
I'm still trying to wrap my head around this tournament, I just wish they hadn't fiddled with the basic premise by introducing the under-23 Team North America. It alone has made me care much, much less about winning this tournament than an Olympic gold medal.
This is not to say I won't be watching. As an NHL fan, there will be general curiosity, and I'll likely tune in. I just won't really care if we don't win it all, and I'd never say that about the Olympics.
What do you think about the World Cup of Hockey?