Say what you will about communism; it might have had its hockey benefits, at least in Slovakia.
“ .. The parents didn’t have to pay big money like they parents do these days. There was big competition because everybody could play and come play and only the best can go further,” Hossa said. “Right now, there’s not enough kids because it costs so much money for the parents. It comes down to economics. I think that’s why there’s a big hole.”
To Hossa’s credit, he’s trying to make a difference with his charitable organization “Hoss Heroes,” which aims to boost the youth movement by providing free equipment.
Marian Gaborik spoke about the lack of young players, too, and he wondered if the problem is that coaches in the area fell behind the rest of the pack as far as how the game is played.
It makes you wonder if Slovakia should consider springing for the sort of hockey summit that boosted Sweden and Finland’s respective profiles.
For now, it’s about sobering realities such as Slovakia merely sending the following players to the World Cup as a chunk of Team Europe:
That’s a pretty impressive group, but it doesn’t answer the nagging question of “Who’s next?”