For the past five seasons, the NHL has had a handful of their clubs start in Europe to promote the sport in "Premiere Games" against European clubs. The Rangers have been called upon in some instances to be one of those teams, including a European tour last season while MSG was amidst renovations.
According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post in today's Slap Shots column, the NHL season starting in Europe will be scrapped starting next year and talks on developing new international ideas will take place in the future.
Brooks mentions some of the possibilities:
Those discussions would include reviving the World Cup of Hockey as a midseason tournament to be played every four years between Olympics, thus guaranteeing a defined cycle of international best-on-best competition with which to showcase the sport.
Along with how the NHL could maximize revenues by doing an international tournament midseason rather than in the preseason:
A World Cup played in North America’s largest media markets — with the Finals at the Garden, naturally — during the two-week down time in the pro sports calendar immediately following the Super Bowl would be a smash hit for the sport and the NHL.
- I was never a fan of the NHL starting the season in Europe. However, I am a fan of whatever grows the sport into a more globally recognized operation. A World Cup of Hockey? Bring it.
- It'll be a tall order to convince the NHLPA its best to halt the season to do a tournament, even though it sounds like its the only time an event of that magnitude would make any sense.
- Look at baseball and arguments against the World Baseball Classic being played in March. Teams are afraid to send their best players because of the possibility of injury. A similar case in the NHL can and most likely will be made.
Follow on Twitter @TheWrage. E-mail me with any questions or comments at Jwrabel9@hotmail.com