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NHL Olympic Solution


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There are two parts

  • Change the Olympic format to a 16 team single elimination tournament (essentially medal round only)

  • NHL will host a six nation pre-Olympic “warm up” tournament in North America right before the games. (each team plays 3 games_details below)


 

NHL participation in the Olympics provides exposure for hockey’s best players but interrupts the NHL season and has the potential to cause injuries. Not to mention the fact that the NHL and it’s players don’t see a dime for participating in the games. When the Winter Olympics are held outside of North America, there is less exposure value for the NHL; the time change limits US and Canadian TV audiences. Having a shorter Olympic tournament will increase the NHL’s exposure in North America.

The IOC has been a horrible business partner for the NHL. Everything from the jerseys, logos and game highlights are encrypted in extreme copyrights. The NHL can’t even run marketing campaigns where they co-brand themselves with Olympic participation. For the furtherance of the league's interests, the NHL ought to hijack part of the Olympic tournament by hosting a warm up tournament a week(s) before the Games in NHL arenas. The NHL’s international tournament will consist of the six national teams that are primarily made up of all NHL players.

The six teams would be split into two groups for a two team round robin. The winner of each group would face each other for the “championship” while the other teams cross over and play a third game from the other group. The IIHF would arrange pre olympic games for the other 10 teams.

 

Suggested groups for optimal TV ratings

 

     GROUP A

  • USA

  • Canada

  • Russia

 

     GROUP B

  • Sweden

  • Finland

  • Czech Republic


 

The NHL would create their own trademarks and jerseys like they did for the World Cup tournaments. The league's goal would be to warm up the players for the short Olympic tournament and to generate revenue by implying that the practice tournament is associated with the impending Olympics. Die hard hockey fans will appreciate having best-on-best international hockey in NHL arenas but it might be a tougher sell for casual fans that could get confused by the practice tournament. The NHL’s TV partners might also present backlash-NBC who also owns Olympic rights might be uninterested in airing the practice tournament in favor of building more hype for the actual Olympics.

Currently, the Olympic hockey tournament has 12 teams, 3 groups with a 3 game round robin. The winner of each group advances to the quarterfinals while the other eight teams play a qualification round. The single elimination concept is similar to the status quo in that every team makes the medal round and in the case of the six teams that participate in the practice tournament, the maximum amount of games that a team could play is the same (7). The transition between NHL and IIHF rules and ice sizes will have a minor effect but just like international travel, there is nothing to be done about it.

The IIHF seems to prefer a fixed bracket over reseeding after each round. In the event that the Olympics were held in North America, a best-of three Gold Medal series could be considered. It would be interesting to see if the single elimination format would set a precedent for the women’s tournament.  It is too late to implement this system for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics in South Korea but not too late for Beijing in 2022. However, this is what the first round would look like if the 2018 Olympic tournament was played with single elimination.

 

Note: I added the top 4 teams that did not qualify from the IIHF Rankings to make 16.

 

Game 1

Sweden vs South Korea

 

Game 2

FInland vs  Denmark

 

Game 3

Canada vs France

 

Game 4

Russia vs Latvia

 

Game 5

USA vs Belarus

 

Game 6

Czech vs Norway

 

Game 7

Switzerland vs Germany

 

Game 8

Slovakia vs Slovenia

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@Tom Czech

 

:welcome:

 

Nice first post!  Welcome to the site.

 

My first concern with your suggestions is wouldn't the pre-game tournament create an even longer layoff of NHL game? Do we even need that?  The NHL basically hosted the World Cup and the TV ratings for it weren't that great.  The biggest concern for the NHL I thought was the length of the time off and the chance of injuries?

 

The second thing that stands out to me as questionable is the 3 game championship series.  I get why, but it is completely different than the structure for any other sport-event at the Olympics.   How many other athletes would like a best of 3 series too?    

 

I think the seeded 16 team grouping in a single elimination is ok though.

 

 

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In theory, It should take the same amount of time. The national teams should play at least 1,probably 2 practice games before a single elimination tournament or there will be no team chemistry. I feel hockey ratings will be higher in February when compared to August/September. It would be a shame to not see a USA/Canada game or a USA/ Russia Game at the Olympics. Those match ups would sell tickets and generate ratings.

 

If the Olympics are in Asia, the warm up game(s)/tournament could be on the west coast to minimize the time change. 

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As far as hockey is concerned, the NHL put together a great World Cup. However, no one cared about Team Europe, USA had a horrible tournament and the rules were complicated. When Nathan McKinnon scored in OT against Sweden, he thought his team was in the playoff round but his team needed to win in regulation.

 

 

 

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I say forget all the dog and pony shows.  Go back to amateurs with the Olympics and skip the idiotic world cup thing.  Play NHL from October to June and be done with it.

 

MLB doesn't put on some horse crap in January just to "maintain interest" or to market.  It does it's thing.

The NFL doesn't play some stupid tournament in May or June to remind people it exists.  (Occasionally a player beats up someone just to keep it in the headlines).   

 

Why do we have to draw the fricken hockey season out ad nauseum and expose the players--WHO ARE UNDER CONTRACT, by the way--to injury so they cannot play for the team by whom they are actually paid!

 

It's crap.  I'm completely uninterested in all of it and wish it would stop altogether.

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I agree with @ruxpin that the Olympics should be for NON professionally committed athletes.

Hate using the word 'amateur' because it insinuates they aren't good players...but of course, used correctly, amateur simply means 'one who isn't paid' to do a particular job.

 

I realize that countries playing in the Olympic games are supposed to showcase the BEST that they have from their countries, but still, if players, whether NHL, or whatever else, are contracted, PAID PROFESSIONALS elsewhere, then they should not be allowed to play in the Olympic games.

 

This would leave out all contracted NHL, KHL, or other paid European league players.....but opens the door for many young hungry, talented NON paid (ahem..amateur) players.

 

This removes any and all headaches for the NHL associated with Olympic play.

If the NHL were just focused on making the BIG LEAGUE product the best it can, then the league would always be on the cutting edge...but as it stands now, Bettman and his administration are so spread out in getting the NHL into everything else, that the core focus of the professional NHL on ice product is sometimes compromised.

 

Then people wonder why the NHL still lags behind the other three major sports promotions in North America....

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2 hours ago, ruxpin said:

I say forget all the dog and pony shows.  Go back to amateurs with the Olympics and skip the idiotic world cup thing.  Play NHL from October to June and be done with it.

 

MLB doesn't put on some horse crap in January just to "maintain interest" or to market.  It does it's thing.

The NFL doesn't play some stupid tournament in May or June to remind people it exists.  (Occasionally a player beats up someone just to keep it in the headlines).   

 

Why do we have to draw the fricken hockey season out ad nauseum and expose the players--WHO ARE UNDER CONTRACT, by the way--to injury so they cannot play for the team by whom they are actually paid!

 

It's crap.  I'm completely uninterested in all of it and wish it would stop altogether.

I totally agree!

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