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Editorial: Hockey wars set to sizzle

World Cup of Hockey 2016
World Cup of Hockey 2016

Parity. It’s a scary word for Canada when it comes to hockey’s world stage. It sends chills down our spine. It’s our sport, we invented it and it’s ordained by the hockey gods that Canada wins gold every year in every category. We don’t want parity damn it, we want to win.

But we have to face reality. It’s tough to win these days. The recent gold drought at the world juniors suggests that other countries are equal in young talent. Over the past six years, Canada has one gold medal while Finland has two.

No longer are Canadians dominating the top picks in the NHL entry draft. It’s the Finns, Russians, Swedes and Americans. It’s scary.

In the world men’s, where Canada’s roster is stocked with players whose teams didn't make the NHL playoffs or exited early, we have fared better of late with gold in 2015 and 2016, but only after a lengthy winless streak. Winning gold in the last two Olympic Games, by both our men’s and women’s teams, has eased our pain.

Three events dominate our hockey attention – the Stanley Cup playoffs, Olympic Games and world junior - probably in that order. The World Cup of Hockey is well down the list right now but over the next two weeks that will change.

We have a chance to wreak revenge for those junior defeats, put an exclamation mark on those world titles and send a message heading to the Olympics in South Korea in 2018. Canada is back and is asserting its world domination.

A Canadian team hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Los Angeles Kings in 1993. It’s an annoying statistic but we take solace that our best players dominate most NHL rosters.

The world’s top players are also in the NHL. We cheer for Alexander Ovechkin with the Washington Capitals and Evgeni Malkin with Pittsburgh Penguins. Right now, it’s hard to get too worked up when we see them with Russia in the World Cup. But give us time.

With exhibition games over, the World Cup starts Saturday in Toronto. The question is, does anyone care? The answer will be a resounding yes.

It won’t compare with the 1972 Canada-Soviet summit series when the pressure was intense and the future of the free world hung in the balance - almost.

Today our most intense rivalry is against the United States and Canada finds itself in the same World Cup pool as the Americans. Anything less than World Cup gold is unacceptable.

This tournament will have major competition for the sports viewer - the Toronto Blue Jays - a team which millions of Canadians live and die with. The Blue Jays have stumbled of late but are only two games out of first.

We might not think so today, but by the end of this month, we’ll become transfixed to the television, Internet and newspapers to follow the World Cup. Sorry Blue Jays, but move over. We’re ready for hockey.

But we have to face reality. It’s tough to win these days. The recent gold drought at the world juniors suggests that other countries are equal in young talent. Over the past six years, Canada has one gold medal while Finland has two.

No longer are Canadians dominating the top picks in the NHL entry draft. It’s the Finns, Russians, Swedes and Americans. It’s scary.

In the world men’s, where Canada’s roster is stocked with players whose teams didn't make the NHL playoffs or exited early, we have fared better of late with gold in 2015 and 2016, but only after a lengthy winless streak. Winning gold in the last two Olympic Games, by both our men’s and women’s teams, has eased our pain.

Three events dominate our hockey attention – the Stanley Cup playoffs, Olympic Games and world junior - probably in that order. The World Cup of Hockey is well down the list right now but over the next two weeks that will change.

We have a chance to wreak revenge for those junior defeats, put an exclamation mark on those world titles and send a message heading to the Olympics in South Korea in 2018. Canada is back and is asserting its world domination.

A Canadian team hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Los Angeles Kings in 1993. It’s an annoying statistic but we take solace that our best players dominate most NHL rosters.

The world’s top players are also in the NHL. We cheer for Alexander Ovechkin with the Washington Capitals and Evgeni Malkin with Pittsburgh Penguins. Right now, it’s hard to get too worked up when we see them with Russia in the World Cup. But give us time.

With exhibition games over, the World Cup starts Saturday in Toronto. The question is, does anyone care? The answer will be a resounding yes.

It won’t compare with the 1972 Canada-Soviet summit series when the pressure was intense and the future of the free world hung in the balance - almost.

Today our most intense rivalry is against the United States and Canada finds itself in the same World Cup pool as the Americans. Anything less than World Cup gold is unacceptable.

This tournament will have major competition for the sports viewer - the Toronto Blue Jays - a team which millions of Canadians live and die with. The Blue Jays have stumbled of late but are only two games out of first.

We might not think so today, but by the end of this month, we’ll become transfixed to the television, Internet and newspapers to follow the World Cup. Sorry Blue Jays, but move over. We’re ready for hockey.

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