A World Wide NHL?

There is no time like the present for the hockey to become a leader of the major sports. The world’s most popular sports have leagues that generally focused in a small number of nations. Football, basketball, baseball, cricket, rugby… these sports lack world-wide leagues. Many sports are trying to spread their wings, like football playing some preseason games in Europe, but there is no world-wide league for any of the major sports. So how can the hockey become a leader of all sports? By creating a world-wide hockey organization.

The NHL is currently where the best hockey players in the world play, however the KHL (Russian league) is encroaching on that position, especially with the NHL looking at another potential lockout. Now is the perfect time to make the NHL a world-wide organization by merging the NHL with the KHL. Obviously a Russian, Canadian, American league is not completely world-wide, but it is the foundation for a world-wide league.

So how might such a structure work? Through a merger of the NHL and KHL, three conferences would be created. One conference for what is currently the eastern conference of the NHL, one for the western conference of the NHL and one for the KHL. Each conference would play a majority of games within its own conference. Because of the logistical problem of travelling between Russia and America/Canada, those out of conference games would have to be scheduled in blocks. An example would be the KHL teams come to America/Canada for a month, play their out of conference games then head back to Russia. Then the Eastern Conference would go to Russia for a month, followed by the Western Conference. Thus, the logistical expenses of travelling could be minimized with all conferences getting to play each other allowing the fans to see world-wide talent, which will subsequently help hockey grow in popularity.

What about problems that arise, such as rule changes? A rule making body would have to be established that would govern issues concerning new rules and sanctioning. The problem arises in that Russian jurisdiction would be added to the mix which would cause international tensions. However, a structure could easily be formed in a similar manner as the current NHL has, given that the current NHL deals with international issues already. While I understand Canada and American get along with each other more than Russia, I believe a compromise could be made between the three countries to allow a world-wide hockey league to form.

Such a compromise could take the form of an agreement for sanctioning would allow the country of the location of the underlying event to have the ability to sanction teams and players. Similarly, a rule change board could be formed with delegates from each country. Or, like the MLB with designated hitters, each conference could have some variations on rules that would be applicable whenever games were played at home in those conferences.

A world-wide hockey organization for the best hockey players will only seek to further hockey by preventing the Russian league for diluting the American/Canadian league or vice versa. A world-wide league would allow the rest of the world to take pride in watching their home grown athletes compete at home in the best league in the world. Obviously this is an idea that with many details that need to be worked out, but a world-wide hockey league can only be good for hockey.

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