How I Would Do a 2011 or 2012 World Cup

As NHL Deputy Commissioner told us in his interview with Puck the Media earlier today, there will be a return of the World Cup of Hockey, which has disappeared since 2004, and prior to that 1996.  It’d seem, for symmetry purposes with 8 years in between, that 2012 would be the more likely destination for the tournament, but there was no discussion of whether it’d be next year or the year after, just that it’ll return once again.

Assuming NBC and VERSUS keep the NHL’s television rights, and presuming the NHL Network still exists, those will be the broadcasters with a chance at the World Cup TV rights.  CBC would more than likely outbid TSN for exclusive rights in Canada.  Here are three suggestions for the tournament should it happen again.

1. Allow it to be held in the United States or Canada alone.

No offense, of course, to our European brethren.  However, I think they’d prefer having a scenario where two of the six representatives of the continent must come over for group play, with the other four coming over afterwards, as has been the case in the last few tourneys.   Let it exist in one country, let the US or Canada have home-ice advantage, but not both as has been the case the last two tourneys.

As far as buildings go, since there were nine used for the ’96 Cup and seven for the ’04 edition, in the US: New York, Chicago, Washington, Minnesota, San Jose, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Boston, Detroit, with New York or Chicago getting the Final.  These are the cities that currently either care about hockey the most, have state-of-the-art or well-known buildings, and would likely show the most casual fan interest.  Basically, i.e. sellouts.  If you throw Germany-Sweden in Minnesota or Detroit it’ll still probably draw a big crowd.  The US would be playing three round robin games.  Give them to Pittsburgh, Chicago and San Jose.  Those three buildings would likely give the team the best home ice advantage.  Team Canada would get to play in Minnesota, Detroit and Boston, easy travel for Canadian fans.

If you gave the tourney to Canada, you’d obviously allow the six Canadian NHL cities (Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary) to host games (Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal get Team Canada games, and Toronto gets the final), but also make it a chance for Quebec City and Winnipeg to host games.

2. NBC must take part in some fashion.

The last World Cup began on August 31, 2004.  That was a Tuesday.  Allow the (for argument’s sake) 2011 tournament to start on August 21, 2011.  Have it be the final two Sundays before NFL season begins.  Game one will be a 3PM NBC broadcast between the United States and Canada, live from New York’s Madison Square Garden.  From there, VERSUS has exclusive rights to the rest of that Pool A (US, Canada, Russia, Slovakia for posterity) and will televise games in primetime every evening.

VERSUS will also air an opening night doubleheader (after the NBC game) featuring teams from Pool B (Czech Republic, Germany, Finland, Sweden).  However, NHL Network will air the rest of the games from that pool, and also be granted a quarterfinal.  NBC will air the quarterfinal game involving the US teams, while VERSUS will air the rest as well as the semi-final.

3. Make where each team finishes matter.

Hold a third, fifth, and seventh-place game A. to get more hockey and B. to determine qualifying for a future World Championship, or have some tie-in with the Olympics.  This isn’t the best thought-out portion of the column, but you get my intentions.

Here would be my schedule for a 2011 World Cup held in the United States after the jump.  Enjoy.

August 21

3:00 USA vs. Canada (NBC) in New York

6:00 Czech Republic vs. Finland (VERSUS) in San Jose

9:00 Germany vs. Sweden (VERSUS) in Detroit

August 22

4:00 Czech Republic vs. Sweden (NHL Net) in Pittsburgh

8:00 Canada vs. Slovakia (VERSUS) in Boston

August 23

4:00 Finland vs. Germany (NHL Net) in Philadelphia

8:00 USA vs. Russia (VERSUS) in Chicago

August 24

4:00 Germany vs. Czech Republic (NHL Net) in Minnesota

8:00 Slovakia vs. USA (VERSUS) in San Jose

August 25

4:00 Sweden vs. Finland (NHL Net) in Detroit

8:00 Canada vs. Russia (VERSUS) in Minnesota

August 26

8:00 Russia vs. Slovakia (VERSUS) in Washington

August 28

3:00 US Quarterfinal (NBC) in Washington

8:00 Quarterfinal (VERSUS) in Detroit

August 29

6:00 Quarterfinal (NHL Net) in Pittsburgh

9:00 Quarterfinal (VERSUS) in San Jose

August 31

8:00 Semifinal (VERSUS) in Boston

Sept. 1

8:00 Semifinal (VERSUS) in Philadelphia

Sept. 3

1:00 Seventh-Place (NHL Net) in Washington

4:00 Fifth-Place (NHL Net) in Minnesota

8:00 Third-Place (VERSUS) in New York


5 Responses to How I Would Do a 2011 or 2012 World Cup

  1. Josh says:

    The thing about the World Cup that’s rubbed me the wrong way in the past is the way it’s been set up as either Canada’s or the US’ tournament. In soccer and in rugby, the world cup is truly a World Cup, where any competitive side is free to mount a bid to host the thing, and the tournament isn’t arranged such that the organizers clearly want two particular teams to meet in the final.

    If the people behind this tournament in the future want to continue with the way it’s been done previously, they shouldn’t claim the “World Cup” name. It should be the “Canada Cup” or “United States Cup” or “NHLPA Invitational”, or something like that.

    Because it is an invitational, if Germany’s in: Switzerland way outperformed the Germans in Vancouver. Calling it a “World Cup” and then only inviting eight teams without any sort of qualification process would kind of make it a sham.

  2. jkrdevil says:

    Make the medal round (last 4 teams remaining) double elimination. That way you get 4th and 3rd places settled without have a 3rd place game no one will show up too.

  3. I would not be a fan of taking away the European games. I would expand the tournament to include 10 teams and do the divisions: N.A.: Canada, Finland USA, Slovakia, Belarus and Europe: Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Germany.

    I would use European arenas
    The O2 (in Prague) – 17 000 capacity
    PostFinance Arenas (Bern) – 17 000 capacity
    Ericsson Globe (Sweden) – 13 850 capacity
    Lanxess Arena (Koln) – 18 500 capacity

    And North American arenas
    Bell Centre (Montreal) – 21 273 capacity
    Scotiabank Place (Ottawa) – 19 153 capacity
    United Centre (Chicago) – 19 717 capacity
    Madison Square Garden (New York) – 18 200

    The quarter finals would be held in Koln, Prague, Chicago and Montreal. The semi finals would be in Ottawa and New York and the final would be in Montreal. I’d also be a fan of the final being held in Koln at some point.

    I think that the World Cup of Hockey and World Baseball Classic should keep playing games in International venues.

  4. e says:

    There is absolutely no way Nbc will televise a hockey game in August. It will never happen.

  5. neilballofrubber says:

    There doesn’t need to be a “World Cup” tournament. The Olympics is just fine as a true World Cup, and should be the only international tournament that matters.

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