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Vintage photo of Rugby League World Cup in new zealand.
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How the NHL Could Benefit from Scrapping the NHL All Star Game
With the annual NHL All Star Game something of an informal event, perhaps the NHL could scrap the event in favor of a Super League, modeled after European Soccer's Champions League.
Think about scrapping the NHL All Star Game as it sits right now, and shortening the season to about seventy games. In place of the twelve games that are eliminated, put in place a kind of Champions League just like European Soccer. The top three or four teams in every league can be included in a hockey tournament to end all hockey tournaments. Plus the revenue generated could be split between however many teams make it into the new league. The present NHL stars get some exposure to an International audience and vice versa. This could translate into more jersey sales and even more International events. Even Gary Bettman has to love that idea. Not only can the leagues front the dues and financing, there might actually be some television revenues to be split up between the leagues. Instead of a rag tag team of All Stars thrown together for one day, the Washington Capitals could play AK Bars in a game that really matters.
Of course, there are problems with this idea as well. First and foremost are the basic differences in NHL Hockey versus International Hockey. Not just rink size here but icing rules and other subtleties make for some interesting challenges, but most teams would be able to adapt quickly to a different style of play. The funny part is that the NHL powerhouses are not exactly guaranteed an easy route to glory. With a European game that features some great open ice play, due to the surface size, there are some impressive players not in the NHL. But just the chance to see more games that actually matter sprinkled into a regular NHL season would be enough to entice fans to actually watch the games, which could mean higher ratings. And along with higher ratings comes higher television contracts. After all, it really is mostly about the money anyway, we might as well get some great hockey out of it too.