The Hlinka-Gretzky Cup has taken on different names since it’s inauguration in 1991. It has long been the pre-cursor of the upcoming season for players eligible in the next NHL Entry Draft. It is not an IIHF sanctioned tournament like its cousin the World Junior Championships Under-18.
NHL General Managers and their entourages flock to the tournament where, for some GM’s, may be their only chance to see a player prior to the draft.
Canada has been about as dominant as any sports team in this tournament capturing their 23rd Gold Medal after winning this year’s tournament in Red Deer Alberta. They have been so dominant that many have called for a change in the past – so I am not the only one. Those that call for a change suggest Canada could ice two teams and still compete, even dominate at the event. But that poses the question: do you stock up all the best talent on Team Canada One to ensure victory?
My proposal takes it one step further and eliminates the possibility of stacking up talent on one team.
How about three Team Canada’s? That’s what Canada does at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. My proposal for three teams would be: Canada Q, made up of draft eligible players from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League; Canada O, made up of draft eligible players from the Ontario Hockey League; and Canada W, made up of draft eligible players from the Western Hockey League.
Often enough you will hear complaints that suggest this or that player should be on the roster. It’s never an easy decision on who to leave off of a roster, and while you may still get those complaints, there will be fewer of them. And it would make for much more competitive hockey which is always a plus for the paying fan’s entertainment. I mean, how much enjoyment are you getting from a game that ends in a score of 14-1?
For the NHL general manager attending the event, there is nothing wrong with having eyes on more players but also the more competitive it is, the better read you will get on a player when he faces tougher competition.
This is not a new concept as it has been brought up by others for years. I just wanted to share my thoughts. I watched every game in this year’s tournament but I have to say my interest was at an all time low when the result was what was expected – and rather convincingly.
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