In a way, ice hockey can be much like soccer/futbol. Oh, I’m not comparing playing on an ice sheet to playing on a huge field of grass, nor players wearing a ton of gear to men in shorts and shirts and somewhat-regular shoes. It’s the fact there are so many tournaments of an international variety that come in to play at all levels of the game that is the similarity. Some are annual, some are vastly irregular and others are on a regular schedule a few years apart… Like the Olympics.
The Olympic games are just a variant of grandiose sport-specific tournaments like the World Cup in Soccer which is played ever four years. I’ll cite the World Junior Championships in hockey, which is an annual tournament of junior-aged players (upper-teens to 20 years old) doing battle, country versus country. There’s also the World Championships which is a toned-down general hockey championship that utilizes players that aren’t involved in the playoffs in pro leagues around the world and those who don’t have to rest and recuperate from a trying season in their respective leagues.
The World Cup of Hockey is an irregular tournament of national teams played in late summer or early fall which can amount to preseason action for the big name talents from around the globe (though that’s not entirely true – the Euro leagues have started by this point while the NHL is in preseason mode). The irregularity sort of dims this and a thin history doesn’t do it any favors either.
And then there are the Olympics… Continue reading