Hockey fans weren’t sure what to make of squads like Team North America and Team Europe heading into the 2016 World Cup, but now that the preliminary round is almost over, it’s safe to say the experiment was a success.
Many regarded these teams as being too gimmicky for a World Cup. In the end, there’s no doubt that Team North America was by far the most popular team in the tournament.
It’s easy to see why people fell in love with their style of play. Team North America played with skill and speed throughout the tournament and their overtime win over Sweden was arguably the most exciting game in the tournament.
With Russia’s 3-0 win over Finland on Thursday, Team North America’s tournament if officially over.
While this experiment was a success, it’s unclear if it’ll stuck next time around.
In four years, Connor McDavid will still be young enough to represent Team North America, but the Oilers forward has already made it clear that he wants to represent Canada, not North America, at the next event.
“Honestly, for me in four years, I definitely hope I can represent my country,” said McDavid, per the Toronto Sun. “You only get a few chances to wear the Canadian logo and represent your country in events like this in best-on-best.
“When you grow up I don’t think I would want to represent Team North America twice and not have the opportunity to represent my country. I’m sure Auston (Matthews) and Jack (Eichel) would say the same thing.”
With the way the Americans failed in this year’s World Cup, it would be hard to convince Team USA not to have Matthews and Eichel available to them in four years time.
McDavid’s coach with Team North America and the Edmonton Oilers, Todd McLellan, has a different view. According to McLellan, Team North America should be a fixture at this event.
“If I get a vote I’d like to do it again,” McLellan said, per CBC.ca. “We’ve proven that this young generation can play with the older ones. We’ve been very entertaining. I think if you surveyed 99 out of 100 fans they’d probably say ‘Put ’em in again.”‘
We’re only four years away from finding out if Team North America is done for good.