Sunday, May 10, 2009

Canada and Russia renewed acquaintances yet again in the finals of the World Championships. This game may not have the same pressure as those versus the Soviet union but whenever you are playing under your flag and for your country there is a huge level of pride that goes into it. Unfortunately for Canada they came up on the short end in this game. In a match that they had both control of the play and the majority of the chances, Canada ran into a hot goaltender in Ilya Bryzgalov who made 37 saves en rout to a 2-1 victory. Canada sent a very young team and used it almost like an in game audition for the summer selection camp and to help the young stars of tomorrow gather some great experience in international play. Player that were targeted as being potential core pieces going forward were Drew Doughty, Steve Stamkos and Luke Schenn. Yet another great plan by Hockey Canada, go for a gold but not at the expense of program development. Second place may be the first loser but Canada has to look at this as just one battle on the way to winning the war (sorry i hate to compare sports to war but they have yet to come up with the equivalent statement), Maybe the team can use this a some added motivation on the way to the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. This game also had up for grabs the world #1 ranking and Russia gets to take those bragging rights with them.

In related Hockey Canada news they have been awarded the rights to 7 more International Tournaments: Four World Junior Championships and three World Women's Championships. Canada will host next year's World Junior Championships in Regina and Saskatoon and the 2012 event in Calgary and Edmonton. It will also host the events in 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021. The woman’s events are slated for 2013, 2016 and 2020. We know that it is a money issue and that Canada will be the most profitable as the gate revenue is probably going to exceed any other location. They just have to be careful to not over do it and reach that point of over saturation and making it less of a premier event. If it is always in Canada every year the prestige is bound to drop. You have to keep it moving a bit to keep the interest in the rest of the world and keep growing the game. The World Juniors are very important to Canada, The World Championships are important to the rest of the World and for the Women they just need it to grow in countries other then Canada and the USA to get some more competitive balance and create some new rivalries and passion. Canada-USA can only play so many times, you know each other too well and the passion is bound to drop with so much is like playing your own team in practice. Sure the games are fun but you are bound to lack passion over time, it becomes less of a game and more of a chore.

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