With hockey in full swing now, and the teams that you love that don’t love you back are stumbling out of the gate, or teams that you cover for a hockey website are doing the same, the mind starts to wander a bit. I think you can see where I am going here. One thing that has constantly been on my mind is some way to start and end an argument about the NHL being the greatest league with the greatest players in the world. I know it may seem obvious, but how would we ever really know for sure?
I thought of a way. What about holding a “World Hockey Championship”? It would be a tournament comprised of the best teams in all of the major leagues around the World battling it out, with the winner being crowned “World Champions”. That would be spectacular but how would it work? When would it be held? How would the teams be picked?
Well it was held tonight actually. Because I apparently have a lot of free time, I decided to work out all the details and crown a World Champion right from the comfort of my own home using EA Sports NHL ’14. I know I know it sounds lame but it was actually kind of fun. The preparation and research took about 10x longer than the simulation of the entire tournament but what can you do. In essence, the World Federation of Hockey Champions League (WFH) was formed.
The first thing I needed to do was to look and see what leagues (with the exclusion of the CHL and The AHL) were available to use and how many. Not every league in the World is represented in the game so I had to make do with what it had. Come to find out there are six leagues including the NHL in the game. That should be easy enough. I could take the Champions from each league and do it that way. Wrong. There are only two options in “Tournament Mode” and it is with 8 or 16 teams. So I had to think of another way.
One of the greatest club tournaments in a sport that is not hockey in my opinion is the UEFA Champions League in soccer. For those that don’t know what that is, it is a tournament of the top clubs in all of Europe joining in one single tournament to decide which team is the Champion. Wow that sounds very familiar. There is much more to it but you get the point. I decided to use that as a guide for how I was going to run this with some moderations of course.
So the leagues I could chose from are the NHL (obviously), SM-Liiga (Finland), DEL (Germany), SHL (Sweden), National League (Swiss), and the Extraliga Ledniho Hokeje (Czech Republic). Missing obviously is the KHL but this should be good enough for what I was going to do.
The Tournament would be a 2-round round robin with each team getting a home game and an away game against everyone in the pool. Once the round robin portion was done the final seedings would be made and it would turn into single elimination with the final two teams standing battling it out for world supremacy and the first ever WFH Trophy.
Next up was figuring out what teams would play in the tournament and how the pools would be decided.
Stay tuned: WFH Champions League: The Creation
John Is a contributor with The Hockey Writers covering the Buffalo Sabres. He is also a Senior Writer and Editor at MetsMerizedOnline.