Tuesday, October 30, 2012
The International Hockey League
This has nothing to do with Afghanistan...so far.
The Stanley Cup is not owned by the NHL. They have no rights to it except as conveyed by the Stanley Cup Trust. The trust might be in the pocket of the NHL, but this can be settled in court.
There is currently a lockout in the NHL, and the League seems to operate on the assumption that high quality hockey is only available from the NHL. Sure.
So here's my suggestion for a new International Hockey League, the winner of which is awarded the Stanley Cup. OK, it isn't really the Stanley Cup, it's the Dominion Challenge Cup, but as it has already been co-opted by the NHL, there is no reason it can't be awarded for an international league that extends beyond North America. Lord Stanley had a few choice words to say about professionalism, but in fact the 19th century ideal of sport as manly preparation for war has been overtaken by the fact that the highest standards of sport can only be achieved by full time preparation. So, hockey south of the Mason-Dixon Line is just stupid, a crass marketing scheme like Roller Derby. It might make sense to the NHL owners - a very dubious group for the most part - but it makes no sense to those of us who think hockey is a beautiful game, played right.
Here's my line-up for the new IHL:
North American Division
Then of course there is the possibility of an Asian Division, extending from Moscow through Kazakhstan to Irkutsk and Vladivostok, with Beijing and Mongolia obvious possibilities, and of course, Shanghai. Would you rather play hockey in Phoenix or Shanghai?