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2025 World Cup of Hockey

Nov. 20, 2023 at 1:27 p.m.
#1
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On the "32 Thoughts" podcast, Elliotte Friedman outlined that there might be a World Cup of Hockey organized in February 2025. However, the # of teams is likely to be limited to just FOUR (4):

Canada vs USA played in North America (likely in the USA)
Sweden vs Finland played in Europe

Due to the Ukraine invasion Russia will not be included.

However, this plan leaves out 5th ranked Germany (who is ahead of Sweden currently), #7 Switzerland and #8 Czechia.

Germany and Switzerland would not have a full 26 NHL players on their international roster (about 10 each). Czechia could actually fill a full complement of NHLers on their roster.

Why can't the NHL-IIHF-NHLPA structure a play-in tournament in Europe to determine the two European semi-finalists?

The goals are to grow interest in the game by holding a "best on best" tournament.

If it was structured the way the FA Cup is in English football: where the smaller countries start the bracket in Europe (and thus very few, if any, NHL players would be affected) and then the larger, higher-ranked countries would be added later in the bracket. This would limit the NHL break in action to 8 games; while all of the NHL players complete the break back in North America to resume the season.

Assuming that Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan are all DQ'd from participation. There are no countries in top 24 that are outside of Europe/North America.

With Canada ranked #1 and USA #4 you could have their start to the tournament in North America in a best of 3 series.

The top ranked European team (#2 Finland) would enter the tournament in the quarter-finals and if they advance would get at least 2 games.

The Medal Round would be in North America (to limit NHL player travel and optimize the break in schedule). There would be 2 day gap between the European semi-final and the Gold Medal game to allow for travel back from Europe and for the North America series to possibly go 3 games while giving at least 1 day break.

If Russa, Belarus, Kazakhstan become eligible in the meantime you just slot everyone down accordingly.

Update for actual IIHF rankings prior to the tournament start.

Screenshot-2023-11-20-111817.png
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Nov. 20, 2023 at 1:28 p.m.
#2
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Edited Nov. 20, 2023 at 1:47 p.m.
Screenshot-2023-11-20-111817.png

sorry for double-post; the image didn't appear in the original one right away.
Nov. 21, 2023 at 11:11 a.m.
#3
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I prefer the 2016 WCOH style TBH... Then have a team Europe, Sweeden, Canada, US, Young Guns NA, (Add in Young guns Euro), Finland, (Add in Germany), Russia (/team Asia or 'Best of the rest' if you have too BC of the invasion) and Czech Republic
Nov. 21, 2023 at 12:23 p.m.
#4
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Quoting: Leafsfan98
I prefer the 2016 WCOH style TBH... Then have a team Europe, Sweeden, Canada, US, Young Guns NA, (Add in Young guns Euro), Finland, (Add in Germany), Russia (/team Asia or 'Best of the rest' if you have too BC of the invasion) and Czech Republic


Thanks for posting, I think it was an interesting idea to try and get "best on best".

The feedback from players and pretty much every involved in international hockey was that it was too gimmicky. Fans outside of the big 6 teams were not engaged and therefore it wasn't growing interest in the game. The players take pride in and really just want to represent their country in the sport they love to play.

To grow hockey they need a "Cinderella" team opportunity just like soccer's World Cup or the Olympics where a team can catch lightning in a bottle and upset one of the traditional powers.
Nov. 21, 2023 at 12:56 p.m.
#5
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Quoting: HockeyScotty
Thanks for posting, I think it was an interesting idea to try and get "best on best".

The feedback from players and pretty much every involved in international hockey was that it was too gimmicky. Fans outside of the big 6 teams were not engaged and therefore it wasn't growing interest in the game. The players take pride in and really just want to represent their country in the sport they love to play.

To grow hockey they need a "Cinderella" team opportunity just like soccer's World Cup or the Olympics where a team can catch lightning in a bottle and upset one of the traditional powers.


This^
Nov. 21, 2023 at 4:00 p.m.
#6
torontos finest
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The World Cup of Hockey is organized by the NHL/NHLPA, which is why there isn't a focus on the broader scope of teams. Germany's ranked fifth in the IIHF standings but there are only 7 of them in the NHL right now, compared to the 79 Swedes. I find international hockey really struggles because of how much of a stranglehold the NHL and NHLPA have on the playing conditions for all the top players, especially when you look at it across other sports when they compete in national competitions.

Your tournament format suggestion is actually pretty good, unfortunately I doubt it'll ever happen.
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Nov. 24, 2023 at 3:45 p.m.
#7
JimmyPaek
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This would be a massive let down
Nov. 24, 2023 at 4:23 p.m.
#8
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Quoting: edeangel84
This would be a massive let down


in what way?
Nov. 24, 2023 at 4:46 p.m.
#9
JimmyPaek
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Quoting: HockeyScotty
in what way?


A 4 team tournament is just a total let down.

Sorry, I was talking about the NHL not your idea.
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Nov. 24, 2023 at 4:52 p.m.
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Quoting: edeangel84
A 4 team tournament is just a total let down.

Sorry, I was talking about the NHL not your idea.


ah gotcha. agreed
Nov. 29, 2023 at 1:25 p.m.
#11
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Ideally, the World Championships would be the true best-on-best tournament since the IIHF runs it and every country is included based on international rankings (plus it's literally in the name, the championship of the world). Unfortunately, the timing of it all is not ideal. It takes place after the regular season and during the Stanley Cup playoffs, so a lot of the top NHL players are either too banged up to want to participate or are competing in the playoffs.

It would be nice if they could hold it mid-season and come to an agreement with the leagues to pause their seasons and allow the top players to play, a la the Olympics. However, it's hard enough to get the NHL on board for an Olympic tournament that occurs once every four years, so I can't imagine they would want something like that to happen annually.
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Nov. 29, 2023 at 1:56 p.m.
#12
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Quoting: DoctorBreakfast
Ideally, the World Championships would be the true best-on-best tournament since the IIHF runs it and every country is included based on international rankings (plus it's literally in the name, the championship of the world). Unfortunately, the timing of it all is not ideal. It takes place after the regular season and during the Stanley Cup playoffs, so a lot of the top NHL players are either too banged up to want to participate or are competing in the playoffs.

It would be nice if they could hold it mid-season and come to an agreement with the leagues to pause their seasons and allow the top players to play, a la the Olympics. However, it's hard enough to get the NHL on board for an Olympic tournament that occurs once every four years, so I can't imagine they would want something like that to happen annually.


This is very much apart of the known issue that has not been resolved between the NHL and IIHF.

Even if the IIHF moved the World Championships to February; as it currently is structured it would be a 3-week break from the NHL schedule.

My proposal (whatever you want to call it: World Cup or World Championship) would reduce the break down to as minimal as possible for NHL players.
Nov. 29, 2023 at 5:32 p.m.
#13
Lifelong Leafs Fan
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I agree that a 4 team WCOH would be a huge letdown, there should be at least 6 or 8. Looking at this from a purely hockey standpoint, wouldn’t Russia have to be included in the spirit of honesty? If the purpose is to have a best-on-best tournament, and Russia has several good players, wouldn’t excluding them diminish the tournament’s credibility? Again, I’m not making any geopolitical commentary, my questions are from a solely hockey perspective.
Nov. 29, 2023 at 9:00 p.m.
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Quoting: DoctorBreakfast


It would be nice if they could hold it mid-season and come to an agreement with the leagues to pause their seasons and allow the top players to play, a la the Olympics. However, it's hard enough to get the NHL on board for an Olympic tournament that occurs once every four years, so I can't imagine they would want something like that to happen annually.


From the NHL's perspective they have too much money invested in the players' and the season to risk a major injury to them mid-season. Imagine coming back from the Olympic break at the top of your conference and one of your team's best players is out for the season in a "meaningless" game.

Frankly, it's not a sentiment, I share, and think they ought to be bending over backwards to make the Olympics happen with NHL players. It's a legitimate concern, however, and I can understand it.


World Cup without Russia is something of a joke, too. Imagine punishing a bunch of players that have nothing to do with geopolitics and simultaneously debasing the tournament by deliberately excluding a talented club because you don't want to risk seeing the wrong flag on the podium. Everyone knows the athletes had nothing to do with the ongoing conflict, and the league is willing to pay them millions of dollars to play here, but are going to pretend they are punishing the political leaders by excluding them from a World Cup?

Of course, the US did something similar in 1980 to its own athletes and cost my buddy his chance at an Olympic medal. To "punish" the Soviets. We sure showed them. At least excluding Russia would be slightly less irrational in this case.
Nov. 29, 2023 at 9:49 p.m.
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Quoting: LeafsForLife
I agree that a 4 team WCOH would be a huge letdown, there should be at least 6 or 8. Looking at this from a purely hockey standpoint, wouldn’t Russia have to be included in the spirit of honesty? If the purpose is to have a best-on-best tournament, and Russia has several good players, wouldn’t excluding them diminish the tournament’s credibility? Again, I’m not making any geopolitical commentary, my questions are from a solely hockey perspective.


From a hockey perspective yeah sure, Russia should be there but they won't and will continue not to for a while
Nov. 30, 2023 at 2:02 p.m.
#16
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Quoting: LeafsForLife
I agree that a 4 team WCOH would be a huge letdown, there should be at least 6 or 8. Looking at this from a purely hockey standpoint, wouldn’t Russia have to be included in the spirit of honesty? If the purpose is to have a best-on-best tournament, and Russia has several good players, wouldn’t excluding them diminish the tournament’s credibility? Again, I’m not making any geopolitical commentary, my questions are from a solely hockey perspective.


The NHL cares about the economic gains of hosting another WCOH much more than having a true best-on-best tournament. Allowing Russia to participate would likely cause a lot of sponsors to withdraw and would result in a lot of lost money for the league.
Feb. 24 at 8:50 a.m.
#17
average joe
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2 options.

1) This is a serious tournament and top 12 IIHF teams participate.
2) Tournament is a gimmick to make NHL money. Have 4 teams and get is over as soon as possible. a) Canada, b) USA, c) Scandinavia, d) Rest of Europe/World.
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