It’s hard to believe hockey’s best are two weeks away from squaring off in the World Cup in Toronto. This event will likely replace the 2018 and 2022 Olympics, which will be in Asia and thus not logistically feasible for the NHL to take part in. But so far, the event is lacking both steak and sizzle in the weeks leading up to the competition. Will rosy early ticket sales figures translate into widespread public interest especially with the Blue Jays in the midst of a tight pennant race?
There have been a couple of missteps so far. First the jerseys are terrible. I would never buy one. Keep Adidas away from hockey! Second, the NHL launched significant parts of its promo campaign during the Olympics. It was completely lost in the shuffle and they’ve failed to pique public interest since. Despite all of this, I’m sure at the end we’ll look back on the World Cup as we did the end of the Rio Games and wonder why were worried at all that the event wouldn’t come off well.
There will be lots of Leafs content to monitor – Auston Matthews (Team North America) JVR (USA) Leo Komarov (Finland) Frederik Andersen (Europe), and Nikita Zaitsev (Russia) being most notable.
My predictions – Canada over Finland in the final, Sweden over North America for 3rd