Making a Case for the NHL to Test An "Under 23" Summer Hockey Tournament In The Off-Season
Updated: Sep 6, 2021
Hey guys! Do you miss hockey? I certainly do! I wish there could be hockey all year-round! Alas, once the playoffs are over and the Stanley Cup is awarded, hockey fans such as ourselves become trapped in some kind of warped waiting game where we actually tune in to other sports. I never though I'd see the day I knew about soccer transfers for instance! Lionel Messi signed in PSG, Jack Grealish was flipped to Man City, and Christiano Ronaldo is rumoured to be the next guy on the move. I also know what's going on in basketball! Want me to tell you about how DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball ended up in Chicago? Or how Ben Simmons hasn't spoken to anyone from the Sixers organization since the season ended? Sure beats flipping through old highlights and pictures of NHLers with their puppies for #DogAppreciationDay on Instagram, I'll tell you that much! I believe some kind of "Under 23" Summer Showcase, a mini tournament of sorts, would be the perfect thing to tide us over until the pre-season, don't you? We could get our short little "hockey fix", the players could actually get on the ice and play in semi-competitive games, and the NHL could gain viewership and make some money! As far as I'm concerned, there is no reason why this type of idea couldn't work if it was handled properly. Simplicity is key.
Earlier this Summer, we were amused by leaked footage of Connor McDavid, the best player in the entire NHL, hopping into a beer league shinny game at his local rink. There was no salary involved. He just came because he loves the game!
I'd bet you any money that if the NHL extended offers to players for an optional weekend tournament in the off-season, the vast majority would come. Even more if it was country teams (Canada, United States, Sweden, Russia, Finland, Czech Republic, Germany, UK et cetra). You don't think those USNDTP guys like Cole Caufield and Trevor Zegras would jump for joy at the opportunity of playing together again? Or that Dylan Cozens, Bo Byram and Connor McMichael would love to avenge their WJC loss? Hockey players love to play hockey. Period.
This proposal also benefits the NHL. Did you know that over 100-million people watched the World Juniors this year? People love prospects. They are the up-and-coming, future faces of our game. Plus, people generally have more time in the Summer. TV viewership would go through the roof! And what about ticket sales?! Obviously each ticket would cost less (since the players aren't collecting salaries), but they cost people money nonetheless. Concessions! Parking! Team Apparel! It is a potential goldmine!
For these reasons, I believe an "Under 23" Summer Showcase Tournament would be something worth pursuing for all parties. With this idea, fans get to watch their favourite players come out and compete in semi-professional games, the NHL makes some huge profits, and the players get to play with some of their buddies on other teams for a couple shinny games before the season starts. Everybody wins! (Also, profits raising within the NHL means a higher salary cap for teams to pay players in the coming years)
🏒🤩 What are your thoughts on this idea? Would you like something like this happen? Could it be a feasible addition to our hockey calendar? Make sure to let me know in the comment section below! 🤩🏒