Thursday, September 22, 2016

Non-hockey fan's guide to the seemingly bizarre World Cup of Hockey

What, you don't recognize the "North America" logo?

Hockey isn't a sport that interests me very much.  But ESPN does its best to promote what it's televising, so the 2016 World Cup of Hockey is on my radar.  Admittedly, I was very confused to see that Canada, the USA and North America all have teams competing.  How does that work?  The answer took me about two minutes to find online, which is roughly a minute and fifty-five seconds longer than it should have.  So for others like me, here's a non-hockey fans' 37-second explanation of the World Cup of Hockey:

Basically, the NHL and the league's players' association decided to put on the event to promote their sport before the season starts.  In order get the greatest amount of talent in an eight-team field, they decided to create six squads representing the USA, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Russia and the Czech Republic.  The next two best options?  Put together a roster full of players from anywhere else in Europe (Team Europe), then split off all the Americans and Canadians who are 23 and under to form "Team North America."  Team USA and Team Canada only have members who are over 23 years old.

The Americans lost their first two matchups in a three-game round-robin to Europe and Canada, promptly eliminating themselves from playoff contention.  Canada, Europe and Sweden are all in the semifinals, along with either Russia or the North-American kids, depending on the results of Russia vs. Finland (happening as I write this).

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