The 2015 IIHF World Hockey Championship may not carry the same prestige in the United States as it does in Canada and Europe. The tournament comes in the middle of the Stanley Cup playoffs and can get lost in the shuffle.
However, it’s a fun tournament that’s worth your time. You may have your reasons not to watch it, but I’ll give you five reasons why you should give the 2015 IIHF World Hockey Championship a look.
Stars of the Present
Most World Championship tournaments don’t usually boast the best and brightest players. Some are banged up after a long season, while other players want time off. However, the 2015 IIHF World Hockey Championship got a shot in the arm as Sidney Crosby said he’ll suit up for Team Canada.
Crosby is just one of the many stars slated to go for Canada at this tournament. The Canadians have a loaded lineup with many players like Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza, Claude Giroux and more.
Russia and Finland are also bringing loaded rosters, and Jaromir Jagr is coming out of international retirement to play for the Czechs. The host country is going to do all it can to celebrate a victory in front the home fans in Prague.
Stars of the Future
While teams like Canada, Russia and Finland are going to have some of the best current talent, Team USA is going to have a lineup that will be loaded with young and college-based talent. Our own THW writer Matt Bowen talked about some of the collegiate talent including Jack Eichel, Jimmy Vesey, Dylan Larkin and Alex Lyon.
It’s going to be a tough task for these young collegians to go up against some of the world’s best. However, this will be a good chance for them to get some experience against some of the top international players. Expectations may be low for these players at the 2015 IIHF World Hockey Championship, but they will be the future of USA Hockey.
You’ll also get to see young guns like Aaron Ekblad for Canada and Filip Forsberg for Sweden. Hockey’s future will be on display in the Czech Republic for the next few weeks.
The Atmosphere of the 2015 IIHF World Hockey Championship
The 2015 IIHF World Hockey Championship will be in the Czech Republic this year. The tournament is often held in Europe because the fans usually pack the arenas and provide a good environment to games.
Americans may not take the tournament seriously, but the European teams do. This is a chance for them to better their chances at the Olympics and other international tournaments.
Also, where else can you see Russian president Vladimir Putin taking a drink (of vodka, I presume) out of the championship trophy.
Look at Alex Ovechkin’s face with that trophy. That’s a man who takes the World Championships seriously.
Plus, you’ll get to see a lot of the classic international rivalries like USA-Russia, Sweden-Canada and the potential for other matchups in the elimination round. We could the rematch of the Velvet Revolution between Slovakia and the host Czech Republic. Canada could take on the United States. We’ve got the potential for fireworks.
It’s Hockey… During the Day
If you can’t get enough hockey, this is the perfect thing to get you through the day until the Stanley Cup playoffs get started at night.
Your respective team might be out of the hunt for the Stanley Cup, but you can still see some of your favorite players chase down some hardware. It’s also quality hockey between international teams that have intense rivalries.
You also get to see your respective country and get a chance to cheer for them. I know I’ll be rooting for Team USA as they march into the Czech Republic.
World Cup Dress Rehearsal
The tournament will be a teaser for the World Cup of Hockey in 2016 that will feature more of the game’s top stars. A lot of the lineups will have a good chunk of their players on the ice at the 2015 IIHF World Hockey Championships.
You’ll also get to see some of the young stars that could suit up for the young stars team consisting of players under the age of 23 and the best of the rest of European squad. Guys like Roman Josi and Anze Kopitar will be anchors of that squad.
It may not be the Stanley Cup, but you should definitely try to watch the 2015 IIHF World Hockey Championship if you got the time. The tournament is big in North America, but it’s one you should pay attention to.
Besides, it’s time we start caring about this tournament. The 2015 IIHF World Hockey Championship should be a blast.