Munich – Canada is considered the home of ice hockey. No place for sport is more important than there. Canada has won the men’s Olympic gold nine times and 29 times at the World Championships. No country has done this often.
The best players in history – whether it’s Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Marc Messier, the energetic Sidney Crosby and Conor McDavid – almost all come from Canada.
Nowhere is the euphoria greater than in the country, which is home to seven NHL teams: Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, Montreal Canadiens, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators.
However, the odd thing is that Canadian teams often lag behind American teams in the NHL (live every Sunday at 6:45pm on ProSieben MAXX and ran.de) in terms of sports.
The Montreal Canadiens were the last Canadian winners of the Stanley Cup
It’s been 29 years since a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Los Angeles Kings in the 1993 finals. After that, the Stanley Cup moved to an American city year after year.
Since then, a team from Canada has only made it to the last six times. Most recently, it was the Canadians, who lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning last year. In the past nine years, all finalists have been American.
But what are the causes of Canadian misery in the NHL? The fact that there are only seven teams from Canada and 25 teams from the USA is an important reason, but certainly not the only one.
Expert Rick Goldman says, “There is no logical answer to this question. In sports, especially in ice hockey, everything could have turned out differently. But there are some aspects that may have played a role.”
A strong US dollar is a disadvantage for Canadian teams
One financial factor: “Especially when the Canadian dollar was so bad, it was hard for Canadian teams to pay players appropriately. Canadian clubs weren’t necessarily the richest for some time.”
There is still an imbalance. At the current exchange rate, one US dollar is equal to 1.27 Canadian dollars.
The problem from the Canadian teams’ point of view: Players’ salaries and many other expenses, such as fees, must be paid in US dollars. However, domestic revenue is logically generated in Canadian dollars – an obvious competitive disadvantage.
The rock bottom for Canadian ice hockey teams came in 2016 when not a single Canadian team was able to qualify for the playoffs. Last season there were no less than four teams. The fact that these teams got together in the first round and got rid of each other was an unfortunate fate from Canada’s point of view.
The eight most recent teams were established in the United States
Overall, the NHL’s expansion strategy appears to be targeting the United States. Eight new teams have been added to the league since 1993. It has always been an American team.
This includes Anaheim Ducks, Florida Panthers (1993), Nashville Predators (1998), Atlanta Thrashers (1999), Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild (2000), Las Vegas Golden Knights (2016), and Seattle Kraken. This is also likely due to higher purchasing power in the US, among other things. The Thrashers later moved to Canada and are now known as the Winnipeg Jets.
German player David Wolff, who previously played for Calgary Flames and is now active at DEL for Adler Mannheim, has other explanations for US dominance. “Aside from the fact that there are a lot more American teams, living conditions definitely play a role,” he appreciated.
“Big players can choose which team to play for. And in cities like Anaheim, where the temperature is 30 degrees every day, there are palm trees everywhere and players can live right on the beach, and have a nice life with your family. That’s how considerations play a big role in choosing The team plays in the hands of the American teams.”
Goldman sees it similarly: “Many players, including Canadian players, prefer to play in the United States. And that makes a difference whether you’re in the snow all the time in the winter, or if you live in Florida or California.”
In general, the life of ice hockey stars in the United States should be more fun. Not only because of the high temperatures, but also because of his anonymity. While the big stars in Canada’s ice hockey strongholds can hardly leave their homes unnoticed, in big cities like New York or Los Angeles they are overshadowed by NFL or NBA stars.
In the US there is more competition, and in Canada there is media pressure
However, this also has a downside, Goldman explains. “In the United States there is often an NBA, NFL or MLB team in the city. The teams have to inspire people. In most Canadian cities there is no such competitive situation.”
The only exception is Toronto, which is not only home to the NHL’s Maple Leafs, but also the Toronto Raptors of the NBA (basketball) and the Toronto Blue Jays of the MLB (baseball). On the other hand, the other six Canadian teams are almost unmatched in their city. And whether or not they are successful, they are sure to attract public attention.
However, this is not just an advantage. “The pressure of the press in Canada is greater than anywhere else,” Goldman says, adding, “You have to deal with that first.”
Apparently, many Canadian teams have not done this well in the past.
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