Tuesday, September 01, 2009
The Euro-Can Cup Wraps Up First Year
Usually, towards the end of August, fans are yearning for hockey action of a competitive nature, which is makes them ready for even an exhibition of the Canadian National team-- a game that drew a sell-out and many views in the Hockey Canada website. However, one thing that may have been overlooked was the first Euro-Can Cup, which was held in London, Ontario by the London Knights and Source for Sports sporting goods chain.
The tournament was something that seemingly is trying to become the summer edition of the Spengler Cup, which is held in Davos, Switzerland each year over in the Christmas season. The format seems to be the same way, three European club teams and a team of Canadian all-stars, if you will. Like for the Euro-Can Cup, it was the London Pro Knights; a team that featured the likes of Sam Gagner, his father Dave Gagner, Todd Bertuzzi, and Eric Nystrom to name a few. The Knights have said that they hope to get alums like Rick Nash and Steve Mason for future tournaments, as both were unavailable due to the Canadian camp.
There's plenty of questions that spourt up, most importantly-- what will happen is a big name player, like a Nash or Gagner, were to play in this tournament and get injured during it?? How do you think the NHL club teams will think about this gimmick then?? The European teams have this as part of opening their seasons as a training camp, but you have to wonder if a group of all-stars in pre-season would be frowned upon by the NHL club, even though it is something where the competition is up and could help rather than hinder. Don't get me wrong, it's a great thing the Knights are doing by compiling a great, watchable list of players who have "names" for themseleves. However, if one of those names gets injured, forget about it-- that list could shrink incredibly if that were to happen. Let's hope it doesn't, though.
Secondly, what's the deal with Canada trying to steal the heat from something like the Spengler Cup?? Understandably, it's at two different times of the year, but the Spengler is something that fun to have as a pro version of the Memorial Cup and puts a lot of European players against each other, including a Canadian entry with Euro and minor pro players on it. It's a great tournament, if you haven't checked it out prior-- you should this year. In any case, I don't see why the London folks want to steal the idea. The IIHF website even suggest this could be the answer to the Spengler Cup, which-- if it were to happen-- could be a shame because watching the Spengler is a very unique event and I wouldn't want it to be imitated in that essence, especially when it's the same damn thing but across the pond.
In any event, any kind of somewhat competitive event pertaining to hockey in August will be enjoyed by any puckhead, especially if it has the name talent like it's producing. Even at the risk of injury and stealing an idea, it's a great event to have out there in the dog-days of summer. It's almost better than that sham of an event like the Victoria Cup, which is basically a one-game thing between the Euro Champs and one of the NHL teams going over to Europe and no one seems to care on this side of the pond....unless their team wins.
In any case, here's hoping the Euro-Can can catch on outside of the Ontario and even Canadian landscape, but I doubt it'll have the heat the Spengler has during Christmas, even with the World Juniors going on at the same time.