World Championships schmampionships.

Did anyone else not give two flying who-haws about the IIHF World Hockey Championships this year?

I mean, really, It’s not something I make an effort to make sure I’m in front of the television for in any year. It was fun when it was in Halifax, but when Canada lost, well, I wasn’t heartbroken. The tournament is just not something I can get into. I can’t be alone here. It’s sort of this odd collection of semi-good players whose teams didn’t make the playoffs. Also, I’d rather watch the playoffs. The World Championships is kind of like the SpengpI think most North Americans would. 

I’m especially blah about the tournament in an Olympic year. It’s too soon. The women don’t play a world championship in Olympic years. Why do the men? It just seems bizarre.

Who was Canada’s goaltender this year anyway? (No seriously, I’m asking.) Google tells me: Chris Mason. Good lord. 

So you see where I’m going with this. This isn’t the collection of the best players in the world. There are definitely some of the best players. But it just can’t compare to the Olympics or the World Juniors, where it’s the best players facing the best players – and there’s no doubt over who the true champions are.

This is why I was truly baffled by the IIHF scolding players who don’t answer the call to play at the World Championships. 

“Why is a 22-year-old Sidney Crosby tired when a 34-year-old Ryan Smyth is answering the bell for his country despite having represented Canada at the Worlds already on eight occasions?” wrote Szymon Szemberg, the IIHF’s director of communications in an article titled ‘Saying no to your country’.

Okay I don’t even know where to start. 
First of all, 22-year-old Sidney Crosby has played the most hockey probably out of anyone in the NHL in the past years. He’s been to the Stanley Cup Finals two years in a row, he played in the Olympics and then he went two rounds this year. 
Secondly, what a spectacularly bad example to use. Ryan Smyth? Ryan Smyth broke his foot playing in the tournament. Ryan Smyth consistently plays for a team that doesn’t go very far in the NHL playoffs. Great. Let’s spend the off-season nursing a broken foot. Injuries happen. Steven Stamkos suffered a head injury. And for what? If Canada won, we’d all be like, meh? We wouldn’t be partying in the streets. Partying in the streets happens after Olympic wins. Because the tournament means something. You know the winner is truly the champion because it’s the best against the best.

Okay. Let’s keep going. 

“Players who say no to representing their country at the World Championship without a legitimate reason turn their backs not only on the team and its fans but also to the system which developed them and made them rich and famous,” wrote Szemberg. “They should pay back, but they don’t.”

Pay back eh. And they owe the IIHF what? These players thrilled the world at the Olympics just months ago. Boo hoo your tournament isn’t very good. Don’t take it out on your players.

**ring ring**

“Oh hey, IIHF President Rene Fasel? Yah. Gary Bettman here. Whatsup. Listen. Bud. I just wanted to point out that our players’ contracts don’t end until June 30. Yup that’s right they’re still under NHL contract until June 30. We could tell them they can’t play in the tournament. Just saying.”

I’m a fan. I don’t feel unpaid because Sidney Crosby wants some time off. As a fan I would rather him rest up, and stay healthy so I can see him for 82 games next NHL season with a long playoffs.

Besides, the kid scored the golden goal.

Championships schmampionships.

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx or find her on her blog National Passtime

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