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Thread: Article in Canadian press

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    IHF Staff Steigs's Avatar
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    Article in Canadian press

    This article touches on the NHL/IIHF debate, Olympic participation, World Championship participation, the World Cup of Hockey, and a few other things, and gives quite a good insight into the North American perspective on these subjects.

    It's part of a series being run by Postmedia that coincides with the World Hockey Summit, being held in Toronto and bringing together voices from the NHL, IIHF, NHLPA, Canadian junior hockey, Hockey Canada and USA Hockey, to try and improve and streamline the game.

    http://www.ottawacitizen.com/sports/...667/story.html

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    IHF Member Alessandro Seren Rosso's Avatar
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    Well not to sound rude, but don't you need more international voices to spread the game internationally? Typical NA article, it is not interesting at this side of the pond, imho
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    IHF Staff Steigs's Avatar
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    Luckily for Postmedia, it's not meant to be interesting to Europeans.
    It does, however, give a (slightly) more open and positive view of worldwide events than the majority of your typical NA articles do, which is why I thought to post a link here.

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    The article offers a good, balanced view on the issue it talks about. Personnally, I don't think anything significant is going to change and actually, it doesn't have to. The problem with the World Championships isn't that some players can't participate because their teams still play in the Stanley Cup. The moment East Europe opened its gates all the major hockey powers faced similar problems.

    What I see as problem is the bunch of players who could play, but refused because they were "tired", "injured", "offended" or something and in most cases they were tacitly or openly "encouraged" by their NHL masters to avoid the World Championship.

    NHL and IIHF should make a deal where each NHL player whose team is out of the competition should be free to play for its country unless injured.

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    IHF Member Alessandro Seren Rosso's Avatar
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    I guess the NHLPA would reject that
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    IHF Staff Marc Brunengraber's Avatar
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    Not necessarily.

    And frankly, I don't see that as the issue.

    Let's pretend for a minute that Drax's idea became reality.

    The issue is that, even if there was such an agreement, many NHL players still would refuse to participate. Some might legitimately fear injuring themselves and seeing their NHL careers ruined. Others might simply not want to play for any number of reasons.

    The bottom line is that you can't force someone to play in an event they don't want to take part in.

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    IHF Staff Graham's Avatar
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    I think there is more chance of the NHLPA supporting it than the NHL. The NHL is not affiliated to the IIHF in any way and simply has an agreement that allows the IIHF to officially acknowledge its existence and not penalise any player who has ever played in it.

    For the NHL to start dictating to its own players that they must compete in an IIHF event would undermine the NHL's autonomy and would be seen as running the risk of starting to create a stronger alliance between the two bodies that the NHL clearly doesn't want.

    That said, there is no way that the NHLPA would accept this. Why would they? Half of the players want to and do play and so don't see any need for the status quo to change. The other half don't and don't want to play and so will vote to keep the status quo. I don't see what motivation the NHLPA would have to implement the rule. In fact, I'd say that you are asking the NHLPA to approve something that reduces a player's rights.

    The only thing I think you could get past the NHLPA is to get a rule in place that states that no NHL team is allowed to prevent one of its players from playing in the IHWC if the games do not clash with the NHL team's own game schedule. That at least protects the players' rights.

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    That was my original thinking as well given that national federations lack means to force players to play on the IHWC.

    There is also a question of insurance that NHL teams often use to hinder their players to compete at the international level. Given how these same teams make their players play during the Stanley Cups with all sorts of of semi-healed injuries it is hypocritical to demand whole bunch of money from the national federations like Slovenia to pay for their one and only NHL star.

    There should be an agreement between NHL and IIHF about these insurances in order to prevent such blackmails on behalf of the NHL teams.

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    IHF Staff Graham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drax View Post
    There should be an agreement between NHL and IIHF about these insurances in order to prevent such blackmails on behalf of the NHL teams.
    But, I think this goes back to my original question. What is in it for the NHL? Rightly or wrongly, they see no value in international hockey, even the Olympics. Therefore, what motivation do they have to encourage their athletes to participate in an event that they believe they get no return from?

    The only way that things are going to change is if the NHL comes under the IIHF umbrella and becomes just another league like the SM-Liiga, DEL or Elitserien. And that is never going to happen unless the NHL completely collapses.

    Graham.
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    IHF Staff Steigs's Avatar
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    The only way it'll change, Graham, is if the NHLPA stands up and forces the change.

    I find it rather pathetic though to think that the NHL doesn't realise that seeing players like Kopitar in the national team jersey does help the growth of hockey in a country like Slovenia, and that it might in turn convince the next Slovenian star to play hockey instead of basketball.

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    IHF Staff Graham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steigs View Post
    The only way it'll change, Graham, is if the NHLPA stands up and forces the change.
    That's kind of where I'm coming form. The NHL has nothing to gain from this (in their eyes, see below) and will not do anything to assist.

    However, I don't see why the NHLPA would want it made mandatory. The players' union is about allowing players to make choices and so they are going to react badly to being told that their players must compete in an event where they are likely to be paid less than their NHL salary or even not paid at all.

    The most you can hope for is the NHLPA getting a rule passed that says NHL teams can't enforce players to not represent their countries.


    Quote Originally Posted by Steigs View Post
    I find it rather pathetic though to think that the NHL doesn't realise that seeing players like Kopitar in the national team jersey does help the growth of hockey in a country like Slovenia, and that it might in turn convince the next Slovenian star to play hockey instead of basketball.
    Absolutely. My comments are about the NHL's perception to not getting any value. I certainly don't agree with them. The NHL is slightly unusual in sport in being a league that is clearly the only league that everyone wants to play in (compare that to football where the English, German, Italian and Spanish leagues are effectively fighting for the same pool of talent). Therefore, it needs to have an international competition to ensure that it continues to build its presence in Europe.

    Graham.
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