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The NHL is constantly telling us that it wants to "Grow the game" and increase it's footprint around the world; become a larger global brand, take over hockey all together and make all the money.

Some NHL players go to the World Championships, but the league doesn't care about them. If they did, they would work with the IIHF to schedule them before or after the NHL season. Instead, they made their own World Cup which has no regular schedule and random teams like "Some of Europe", and people get tricked into thinking it's a legitimate tournament.

They won't go to the Olympics, and unlike every other sports league in the world they see the international governing body as a pest that's in their way, rather than a way to increase hockey's appeal. They don't want to you like hockey, they want you to like the NHL.

They should want you to actually like the game they play, despite the way they organize, officiate, and sell the sport.

One way I would like to see the NHL increase it's appeal, is to participate in more international tournaments. A few years ago we saw the AHLs Rochester Americans, the Buffalo Sabres affiliate, added into the field of teams for the Spengler Cup. Why not schedule something so Nico Hischier and the New Jersey Devils (with their families to make it more palatable) can have a Christmas vacation in Switzerland?

However, that's not a big enough fish for the NHL. They'll want to they're the best. Then they'll have to beat the best.

The Champions Hockey League has been playing an in-season tournament since 2016, with a first trial run in 2008-09. Originally the winner of the Champions League was supposed to play against a top NHL team in the "Victoria Cup" but this idea was abandoned after 2009.

I think it's time to bring back the idea, but we shouldn't give the NHL an easy entry. I say make them earn their way to the final.

To summarize the CHL's rules for entry and format, they have a handy video!

Can't watch? There's plenty of format information on the CHL's website.

CHL Competition Format for 2023/24

To TL;DR everything, the European leagues are sorted by points, which are calculated in a way that makes my eyes cross, so here's Wikipedia to tell you:

Each match is counted for league ranking points. Points collected by all teams from a specific league are summed up and then divided by number of teams from that league. The final result represents the league's coefficient for that year. Coefficients are then sorted from highest to lowest: the best league gets 100 points with each following getting five points less than previous one (95, 90, 85...).

Points are awarded as follows:

win in regulation time – 3 points (group stage, playoffs)
win in overtime – 2 points (group stage only; no overtime in playoffs)
tie in regulation time – 1 point (playoffs only)
loss in overtime – 1 point (group stage only)
loss in regulation time – 0 points (group stage, playoffs)

Additionally, each team is awarded 1 point for reaching each of next rounds.

The last four seasons are taken into account for berth allocation for the 2018–19 season. League points are made of 25% of points won in first season, 50% of points won in second season, 75% of points won in third season and 100% of points won in last, fourth season.

For the 2018–19 season, each of the four previous seasons was taken into account and starting with 2019–20 season each will be based on points from last five seasons.

Clear as mud, right?

In my mind that wouldn't apply to the NHL, as the reigning Stanley Cup winner would get the nod. This would require the drawing of matches to be pushed back to happen after the Stanley Cup Final if they want the team to be known then, or leave it as a mystery.

Getting the team out to Europe wouldn't be much of a challenge, the NHL already has Global Series games and the round robin games could be worked out to take place all in one week to save on travel costs.

Three teams would have to make their way over here, which could be a costly option for some of the smaller participating countries, the Polish, Danish, and French leagues may not like being thrown into paying for a trip to Las Vegas or Edmonton.

I'm not certain of the financials of the league, but support could be given from the host teams, the NHL, and CHL. Maybe get an airline sponsor? These costs are marketing for the leagues and in sure they have accountants smart enough to figure out some tax breaks there.

There's also prize money for each round you make, which could offset costs for the trips:

CHL Prize money distribution is as follows: Season champions receive €65,000, making the round of 16 is €15,000, making the quarter finals, is €15,000, making the semi-finals is €20,000, the runner up is awards €120,000 and the playoff winners receive €240,000. The Champions could collect €360,000 if they win the playoffs and season.
Source: Champions Hockey League media guide

The CHL can also be a place for NHL teams to experience playing under rules the NHL may, consider. Some different rules they play under:

Power play goals do not end the penalty. An old NHL rule that some are calling for a comeback.

Delayed penalties are not waived off if a goal is scored.

Like the PWHL, a shorthanded goal ends the penalty.

This is something I would love to see added to the NHL calendar. Something new and exciting. Something that would actually mean more than an NHL tournament featuring made up teams and exist only in their bubble. It would be a chance for great stories, see new teams, be exposed to new players, potential prospects, and former NHLers. Former Leafs players and prospects Stuart Percy, Martins Dzierkals, and Korbinian Holzer are a few names we'd recognize in this year's season.

It would be a great way to grow the game, give players in both leagues some exciting experiences, and we would see the NHL teams play in cities they may never visit in the Global Series.

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