When it comes to Canada and their roster when it comes to the Olympics, they really need to look no further than to their Spengler Cup roster that they’ll send over to Davos at Christmas time. It seems to be the way that Hockey Canada is going when it comes to the exhibition games they’ll have to play beforehand.
Sure, the AHL is allowing their contracted players to be available for the Games, but when you’re a country like Canada who is all about hockey– having a team that has played together (at some point) is what they need for a tournament like this. This would be a bit of a leg-up on the competition, which is not what they had back in the ’80s when most every country had a dedicated national team playing exhibitions in the lead-up to the Games.
Would a team of AHLers be better than a Spengler Cup team?? Perhaps. Could there be some AHLers on the Spengler Cup team that could go to the Olympics?? Absolutely– as AHL players representing Canada in the Spengler is not unheard of in the least. But it’s time to let those guys who moved over to Europe to play hockey and know the bigger ice a little bit better, especially against countries who have players who use that ice surface all year long.
And let’s be honest– it’d be a huge chance for these guys to represent their country on a big stage; not just for Canada, but other countries as well.. Hell, even when it comes to the World Championships, the NHLers get the luster of coming over to play for that while the Canadians, Americans, Finnish players who play in Europe are left out in the cold. You don’t think those guys would be even hungrier to prove they belong at the Olympics and should be considered when representing their nation?? While it’s not the amateur idea that some people have in making the World Juniors as the Olympics every four years; it’s definitely something that has great storylines for the broadcasting companies to have a field day with.
Plus, let’s be honest– this is a one-and-done for the non-NHL players because we all know their coming back for Beijing in 2022. These will be the games to show the depth of each national team has. Sure, we know what they bring to the table on the NHL or even AHL side…but for the overall landscape of hockey, this will prove what they have.
(Of course, I am saying this assume there isn’t a secret schedule to save the NHL going to the Olympics and the NHL players who go rogue and play in the Olympics anyway.)