World Cup Of Hockey Likely To Return On Four-Year Schedule Alternating With Olympics
The World Cup of Hockey “may be on its way back -- even as the NHL and its players can’t decide when they’ll return to the ice,” according to Roy MacGregor of the GLOBE & MAIL. Talk in “virtually every major hockey circle,” including the NHL, NHLPA, Hockey Canada and Int’l Ice Hockey Federation, “points to a return of the multination tournament" that has only been played in '96 and '04. However, a “reborn” World Cup would be “profoundly different, with the tournament played at prime time for television as well as prime time for hockey -- February of every fourth year, alternating with the Olympic Winter Games so hockey fans would have a major international tournament every second year." The IIHF is “reviewing its championship structure and working on a 10-to-12-year plan that is roughly modelled on FIFA and aimed at increasing international interest in hockey.” The IIHF is “considering dropping the world championship in Olympic years to increase European focus on the Games, no matter where they might be held.” Hockey Canada President & CEO Bob Nicholson said, “It’s all about eyeballs and television.” MacGregor wrote the previous World Cup of Hockey, held in September, was “restricted to fanatics and the tournament competed poorly” against other sports events. But a February tournament every fourth year “might prove wildly successful.” Meanwhile, the NHL is "less than thrilled with the prospects of upcoming two Olympics.” Sources said that “changes could be coming" prior to the ’18 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The difficulties of traveling to South Korea have “led to informal talk about the possibility of, after Sochi, restricting Olympic hockey competition to players under the age of 23, as is currently the case for soccer” (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/13).