We recently asked fans to submit their thoughts on the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship tournament. We asked for general thoughts of the tournament? Importance of the tourney to the sport of hockey? Importance of the WC to you as a fan? Schedule conflict with the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Here's what some fans had to say ... _________________________________
Since the Rangers aren't in the playoffs, I'm glad to have the opportunity to watch Anson Carter represent my country. I think the WC is a good tournament. Teams are structured more like an NHL team, not like the Olympics with all the "superstars." It's disappointing that so many good players don't want to play for their country, but it's nice to see guys like Kris Draper out there because it's role players that make a real team. They're just as important as superstars. That said, there are still a few "star" players playing, so it's a good mix of talent and depth. It's nice that the Oilers have so many players willing to represent their country and the reunion of the Smyth-Comrie-Carter line is great. I think the WC makes for a playoff-like atmosphere since there is no fighting, and the open ice and elimination of the red line make for fast, exciting hockey. Since the Rangers aren't playing, I'm going to watch it just as much as I would if it didn't interfere with the NHL. I'm not a fan of the no-touch icing, but it's still great hockey, nonetheless. GO CANADA!
Climpson Canada _________________________________
I feel the World Championship is an important tournament, and that the world organizing body of ice hockey should emphasize this by not scheduling it's WC tournament during the Stanley Cup playoffs. With those playing in the NHL playoffs not in the tourney, the countries cannot make their best selections for teams, which devalues the result of the championship.
I think a World Championship or World Cup of Hockey outside the Olympics is pretty important. I would prefer that hockey use the 'Under-23' format similar to soccer during the Olympics, but allow the veteran professional players to participate in the WC or World Cup. The Olympics should be about young people who excel in sport, not 20 year veterans of cynical professional sport.
I like to see United States hockey squads do well. I am rather insulted that we didn't field a stronger team for this tournament. There are plenty of very talented U.S. players who aren't playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs right now, yet almost none of those are currently playing in the WC.
I follow the WC regardless, but it won't be taken seriously by the hockey community until it's scheduled at a time when countries can field their strongest selections. Dunham, Leetch, Amonte, Konowalchuck and many others of quality and skill should all be on this team in Finland. Note that Canada fielded a much stronger team ... why couldn't the U.S.?
Charles Therrell Riverhead, New York _________________________________
I believe that if this is the World Championship of Ice Hockey, then the United States should bring in the best American players who are either not performing in the playoffs or have just gotten eliminated in the first round. No offense to some of the players that are currently playing who may be the future for USA Hockey, but I truly bellieve the IIHF, North America and the rest of Europe wants to see the best American players on the USA squad.
I think the tournament is very important to me as a fan to show the world that the USA has a strong hockey program and that it deserves a lot of attention.
Daniel Feuerstein _________________________________
I am personally angry that the IIHF World Championships have absolutely no visability in this country. Wearing the colors of your country should be the most important part of a professional hockey player's career. There is no logical reason why the Stanley Cup playoffs and the IIHF WC are scheduled inside of one another. International Ice Hockey should follow the model that has been set up by FIFA, football's governing body. International tournaments such as the World Cup are ranked #1, then a World Club tournament, and then the domestic championship. There is no reason or excuse for this not to be happening in ice hockey. If hockey and the NHL ever want to become popular in this world, follow the model of FIFA ... club and country.