May 08, 2007

Ice Hockey gets its own Champions League: : the Victoria Cup. Beginning 2008, the IIHF plans on hosting an annual exhibition series between the top three European teams and an NHL franchise. A likely alternative to that quiet but old topic: NHL European expansion

posted by mkn to hockey at 08:30 PM - 12 comments

Top two Euro clubs according to the article. Could be a good thing, though one wonders how together the NHL side will be in September.

posted by billsaysthis at 12:11 AM on May 09, 2007

I was thinking the same thing, bill. How are they going to get the NHL team together with the offseason transactions (i.e. trades, contracts, training camp)?

posted by wingnut4life at 12:38 AM on May 09, 2007

I like the basic idea but as always the details, such as timing, are going to be the problem. It's really hard to change the culture of the NHL that the NHL is the only thing that matters -- Olympics be dammned, etc. This could be great for the sport worldwide if a more soccer-like mentality could take hold with players and clubs released for internationals. A little more info here

posted by rumple at 01:49 AM on May 09, 2007

Fuck, there is so much hockey already. Shortest off-season of any pro-sport, huge long Cup run, the World Championships every year, People talking about reviving the Canada Cup, the Olympics every 4 years. I mean - we beat the shit out of these guys. That said - I've been waiting to see something like this for a while. I think some of those Russian Super League teams are probably pretty good. Like, Columbus Blue Jackets good.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:28 AM on May 09, 2007

i think hockey is the only sport this type of thing can work in because hockey players don't have the massive ego of most athletes that say i can only play during the season and screw all these other evens. Where's my check

posted by Debo270 at 09:18 AM on May 09, 2007

Maybe they should do it right after the regular season with the best NHL team that doesn't make the postseason. Potentially kind of demeaning to the Euro teams, but it would solve the extra-long season and transactions issues.

posted by holden at 09:51 AM on May 09, 2007

Transactions shouldn't be any more an issue than they are in football -- qualification for the Champions League is similarly based on domestic performance the season before (right?). I'm pretty interested in the contractual issues, though. Playing in the Olympics or world championships is quite a bit different; for starters, it's a team of volunteers; and second, the resulting revenue flows to organizations that are formally not-for-profit (Hockey Canada and/or the COC). I'm presuming that the NHL and/or the qualifying NHL team are going to get some money out of this Victoria Cup -- how much of it will flow to the players?

posted by Amateur at 12:01 PM on May 09, 2007

You know, I can't find anything which indicates that either the NHL or NHLPA have agreed to even consider this. This seems to be almost just a challenge thrown up by the IIHF: "It will be exciting for [the NHL] to play this and they can't hide," [IIHF general secretary Horst] Lichtner said. "This is also an attractive financial incentive for the NHL, which we see as motivation." Where are the NHL/PA press releases? Where's Gary Bettman trying to grab headlines with this? They don't seem to be too gung-ho on the idea. And if the NHL and PA aren't behind it, I don't think any individual club would be willing to make the effort at such an unstable time of year for a measly eight hundred thou. It's definitely a cute idea, and I'd definitely watch it if it came to pass, but it needs more structure to create any traction whatsoever inside a North American pro league. I don't think we're going to see an NHL team over there anytime soon.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 12:25 PM on May 09, 2007

Something else from the linked article: On February 29, 2008, there will be a global hockey game. Calling smithers...

posted by Amateur at 12:53 PM on May 09, 2007

Like, Columbus Blue Jackets good. watch it, Weedy don't make me send Stinger up there ... err, maybe I should send Brutus

posted by littleLebowski at 01:00 PM on May 09, 2007

You know, just the prospect of this makes me really happy. Hockey is better suited for a Champion's League setup than any other North American sport, and these legal issues between the NHL, the NHLPA, the IIHF and the federations of each country will eventually be worked out. You'll see. The Swedish Elite League (or Finnish, or Czech, or whoever) will reach a deal, and then the rest of them will follow just to cash in. This will be a win-win for everyone involved in the sport. And Weedy, putting aside for a minute that the Blue Jackets are going to suck far less next year than they did this year, people were talking the way you are before '72 as well, and then the Russians came within a minute of beating the NHL's best. I'm just saying. A commemorative marker will be placed on the site of the rink [where the first recorded hockey game was played] which is currently a car rental agency. Hee.

posted by chicobangs at 09:07 AM on May 10, 2007

Fuck, there is so much hockey already. Shortest off-season of any pro-sport, The English Premier League season is nine months long, August to May. Most of the other top national soccer leagues are similarly as long. huge long Cup run, the World Championships every year, People talking about reviving the Canada Cup, the Olympics every 4 years. Ice hockey is nowhere near to coming close with the constant year round cycle of pro soccer: regular national leagues, national cups, regional/continental/world club competitions, regional/continental/world national team competitions, World Cups for both genders for all the various different age groups (U-17, U-20, etc), Olympics, etc. Top level players are lucky to get a month off every year between their club and national team duties.

posted by dave2007 at 12:19 AM on May 12, 2007

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