Sure, being left off of your country’s national team for the 2016 World Cup of hockey has to sting a little, but it isn’t all that bad. While it’s always an honour to be called upon to represent one’s native land, the upcoming World Cup of hockey isn’t the worst thing to be omitted from. The tournament will take place from September 17th to October 1st of this year. The eight teams that will be featured are: Canada, U.S.A, Finland, Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, North America (23 and under) and Europe (rest of Europe).
The roster announcements are now behind us, and the hockey world is still buzzing about certain players being left off of their respective country rosters. While some teams in the tournament are much harder to make than others, the players that are called upon to play are very talented, very valuable players across the board. The majority of the talent in the tournament will come from the NHL, and this has to concern some, as the tournament takes place right before the start of the 2016-17 NHL regular season.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
As mentioned earlier, the World Cup ends on October 1st, which precedes the NHL regular season by only 11 days. In addition, those not asked to represent their countries on the international stage will have already started preparing (in training camp) for the 2016-17 season while some of their teammates are still away competing. The NHL season won’t be put on hold as a result of said tournament, so teams will have to make do without some of their most important players for a little while. The players in the tournament could miss a large portion of the preseason preparation as well as training camp.
The most concerning factor for NHL teams and their hot commodity players is the possibility of injuries. With the tournament being held so close to the NHL season, teams and their brass are likely worried about sending their star players into an intense, competitive environment. The last thing that teams need is for their star players to be hurt so close to the regular season. Individual team management groups don’t have much of a choice when it comes to allowing their players to compete at the World Cup, and international hockey fans are thankful for that.
While their teammates battle it out at the World Cup of hockey in late September, notable omissions like Phil Kessel (USA), P.K. Subban (CAN), Corey Perry (CAN), Tyler Johnson (USA), John Klingberg (SWE) and Alex Galchenyuk (N.A.) will be preparing for the upcoming gruelling 82-game NHL season. All of the noted players are of extreme importance to their respective NHL teams, and their coaching staff and management won’t have to worry as much about losing these stars just prior to the season. (Note: the short list of omitted players above doesn’t by any means cover all of the important snubs from the World Cup rosters).
Taking all of this into account, though, it’s still a great honour to be able to represent your country on the international stage. NHL players are known for being extremely competitive, and those that were left out likely didn’t take the news about being omitted too lightly. Sure, players would probably rather be competing for their countries in late September, but taking the extra rest and training prior to the long NHL season will be beneficial. Plus, there’s a much lower risk of injury. Alas, being snubbed from your home country’s World Cup team isn’t so bad after all.
For the full team rosters for all eight clubs participating in the tournament, check out the Full 2016 World Cup of Hockey Rosters.
I’m a Montreal Canadiens columnist and lifelong Habs fan. Follow me on Twitter (@gregkatz19) for all kinds of hockey talk, and to be up to date on my newest articles. I previously wrote for Too Many Men on the Site, a part of Fansided NHL.