October 27, 2004: Boston Red Sox “Reverse the Curse” and win the World Series. My father and I embrace each other after a long 8 game winning streak that saw our Red Sox come out on top.
June 15, 2011: Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup. I am crying in my living room as my father and I rejoice in 16 years and 39 years of agony respectively.
June 2, 2013: I graduate from High School. If you knew me back then you’d be amazed that I accomplished such a feat, I jump off the stage with the diploma in my hand and run to the exits before they realize the mistake they made and take it back
January 24, 2015: Gary Bettman announces the return of the World Cup of Hockey for September 2016. I wait patiently another week as the NFL has a bye week before the Super Bowl, but Gary Bettman delivers me the greatest gift I have received in a long time, the return of The World Cup!
Some things you just never forget where you were and how you felt, and the announcement of the World Cup of Hockey is one of those things for me. I love international ice hockey, it puts the greatest hockey playing nations up against one another to see which country can have bragging rights for the next four years. Olympic ice hockey is the best because the majority of the teams have a chance at winning the gold medal. Canada is the big dog on campus, but no one would blink an eye if Sweden, Finland, Russia, or the United States won the whole thing. Of course theirs the Czech Republic who can absolutely hang around with the big boys, but they are just below these aforementioned teams. Slovakia, Norway, Germany, Slovenia, Denmark, Latvia, Switzerland, and Belarus basically round out the rest of world in which we see international teams competing, but these teams will not be represented in the World Cup Individually, rather together. Yes, team Europe will be playing in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey and all these nations will make up the countries that are represented, or could be represented, for this tournament.
In another twist of events, there will be a team with solely 23 year olds and younger from both Canada and the United States, they are labeled as team North America. Well Dave isn’t Mexico in North America? Why can’t they be represented? Well voice in my head, there isn’t a single NHL talent from Mexico yet, so they decided to choose strictly Canadians and United States Americans.
So, the World Cup of Hockey is set to begin play on September 17, 2016 from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. Smart move by the NHL and IIHF to make the birthplace of hockey host the event in its return after 12 years, but I cannot wait to see where they host it next. My vote would be across America. Have the opening round games in separate cities such as Philadelphia and Chicago. Have the semifinals meet in two different cities such as Boston and Los Angeles. Then have the best of 3 championship meet in New York City for the final. I love the idea of the World Cup so much, and I am ecstatic to watch this tournament unfold, because truly 5 or 6 of these teams have a legitimate chance of winning the whole thing.
In basketball the United States dominates every team they play, or at least they should. Honestly I rooted for the USA to lose every game in Rio this summer, I hate how much better they are than every nation because no one else truly stands a chance. Australia and France can give them a good game, but they can’t win against us. In hockey the wealth is spread. Let’s compare from 1980 to present day what nations have won Olympic gold medals in both basketball and hockey.
1988: Soviet Union
1984: Soviet Union
1988: Soviet Union
1992: Team Europe
1998: Czech Republic
See what I mean? I know Canada has asserted some dominance as of late, but there is a lot more parody in hockey than basketball.
I digress, because hockey is superior to basketball in my eyes, and we need to make America hockey again! This tournament is going to be epic, but who is going to win it all? Team North America. The under 23 squad is going to win the whole damn thing and shock the world. The talent on that team is disgusting, Aaron Ekblad, Johnny Gaudreau, Conor McDavid, Jack Eichel, Auston Matthews, Matt Murray, and the rest of them want to prove a point. I have the North American team beating the United States in a best of 3 for the championship and gold medal. Canada and USA are the other threats to win this tournament for me. I don’t think team Europe or Czech Republic have a chance, but time shall tell.
So North America will win, and international ice hockey is greater than international basketball, tell me I’m wrong, I dare you.