The NHL is considering adding a soccer-style Champions League which would pit the Stanley Cup Champions against Europe’s best. Here’s why it won’t work.
Unfortunately, this is true. I’d love to see this happen either way, and I’d also love to see the distribution of talent and wealth in the world of hockey spread around to other european leagues. For me, it comes down to sharing the game. It’s about reaching out to places that have a passion for it, but might not otherwise have the means to see high quality matches. Regardless, I have come to really, really enjoy following leagues from the UK (EIHL), Germany (DEL), Switzerland (NLA), Austria (EBEL), Sweden (SHL), Finland (Liiga) etc. (you get the picture…) and getting to understand how they do business and play the game.
The game is played differently on either side of the pond and as a fan of the game, I find that worth getting to know. North American involvement in the CHL could bring more exposure to these unique aspects and cultural differences. At the end of the day however, the CHL will be fantastic for ice hockey, whoever is involved.
Wow. Where do I start? First of all, it’s presumptous to start an article with “it’s never going to work”.
Winning the CL doesn’t make you the best team in the world or the best soccer country ever. It just means that you won the cup and that you get to try winning it all over again next year. That’s the beauty of sport – there is no ultimate answer.
I’m going out on a limb here and say that the person writing the article doesn’t know much about soccer or the history of the CL. And it’s the one-eyed leading the blind here when another person without a clue is asked to chime in. So, to compete in an international club competition you will have to play your lesser used talent, this one guy says.
Your best players will rest up because you don’t want to risk injuries. Guess what? That is exactly what every club competing in the CL or EL is doing. Last year’s champion Bayern München had enough world-class forward talent to fill a few squads but you need this kind of asset management if you want to do well. It’s called depth.
The financial success of the CL didn’t come over-night. I believe it took more than 40 years. And most of the money comes from ad revenue. I know the NHL sometimes sneezes on sponsoring (I guess it’s easier to persuade fans to pay 200 bucks for a ticket) and I’m not a marketing expert but I don’t see how an international club competition in hockey won’t make money. Is the author really saying that nobody wants to see new players, new teams, new locations, different ice and tactics? As long as Crosby isn’t in it, it can’t be enjoyable? Come on now.
And honestly, the whole “the players only want to win the Stanley Cup” reasoning is almost cute. Granted, it’s a big trophy. An honour to touch it and so on. Hell, it even looks good. But if your boss told you to work a few days a month in a different venue, would you say no? Imagine this boss pays you 4 million a year. Imagine this boss sends you back to your home country (maybe even your home club) for a few days. Where you will be cheered by fans who remember how you started, friends and relatives. Doesn’t sound too bad all of the sudden, does it?
Sure, the guy writing that there is nothing in it for the players didn’t consider that there are a lot of Swedish, Finnish, Slovakian, Czech and Russian players in the NHL. That’s a fact that might slip someone’s mind easily.
Weirdly enough the author says that there might be new fans and money in the CL but still concludes that it’s lose-lose for the NHL.
I’d like to point out that there are other sports in North America that have always carried their own weight (not sure if this is the right expression): those sports are American football and baseball. Two sports that are virtually unknown in Europe. That’s my conclusion.