Canada is no doubt the team to conquer at the World Cup. But hockey has gone global, as seen by the breakdown of the first round of the draft.
The truth is hockey is a worldwide sport, and that’s a good thing. It could be argued that, even in North America, hockey is a niche sport, trailing behind baseball, basketball, and football. But attention in it is increasing, in spite of the snag the NHL finds itself in. There is way too much focus on uninteresting defensive play. A kid who grew up in Arizona became the most sought-after prospect on earth and the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NHL draft. Auston Matthews opposed Patrick Kane to be the face of hockey in the US.
There was one NHL draft when it was implied a Canadian might not be selected until sixth. That wasn’t correct since Pierre-Luc Dubois was picked 3rd by the Columbus Blue Jackets. At the end, 12 Canadians, 12 Americans, one Swede, three Finns, and two Russians made up the first round.
There was a time when Canadians ruled the 1st round, Not anymore. It is just another example of Canada’s stranglehold on the sport creeping away, one that most folks are very comfortable with. Nurturing the game around the world is a good thing.
It was a solid happening in the sport in 1972 when the Soviet Union shocked the hockey world by whipping the great Canadian NHL stars in the opening game of the Summit Series and moved Canada to the limit in a series the Canadians barely won.