As its commissioner Gary Bettman announced last week, the National Hockey League (NHL) will organize a four-country tournament in 2025 in some cities, possibly Montreal and Boston, except that Bruins fans will not be able to encourage any of their favorites which also appears to be in poor condition.
The circuit said Canada, the United States, Sweden and Finland will take part in a competition scheduled for February 12-20, 2025. According to the Sportsnet network and the Daily Faceoff website, the event will feature a total of seven games and even if the NHL has not explicitly named the cities where players will be welcomed, metropolitan Quebec and “Beantown” are listed as locations selected. However, the Czech Republic's absence in particular means that David Pastrnak, one of the league's top-scoring attackers, will not have the opportunity to play in front of a crowd used to cheering him on.
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The man who has threaded the ball 334 times in 641 regular season games of his career expressed his dismay personally, especially since he has no power to change anything.
“It's a big disappointment. […] Actually, I'm not happy about it. I understand that this decision must be made quickly because it will take place next year. They probably didn't have time to prepare for a major tournament. However, the Czechs will not be there and many players will remain behind, he told Boston.com. Honestly, I won't watch it. I'm just glad that the idea of the Olympics was accepted.
Tired of waiting
However, the non-inclusion of the Czech Republic in the group of participating nations is justified by the lack of defenders of this country in the NHL. As the daily newspaper “The Boston Globe” reports, each of the four competing teams must rely on 23 skaters who have an NHL contract from December 2nd and will be part of one of the 32 teams. In addition, the Czechs would only have three defenders eligible to play if the competition started now.
The fact is that “Pasta’s” dissatisfaction is understandable. Like many athletes his age, the 27-year-old winger saw two chances at the Olympics slip away when the NHL refused to send its players to Pyeongchang in 2018 and Beijing in 2022.
“I am very excited. I have been very honest with you throughout as it has been very frustrating. I've already missed two opportunities. In the next few years I will be 30 years old and hope to get a place in the team. “Nevertheless, I am very happy about the completion of the deal,” he admitted. It will take a few more years, but when the news was confirmed I was very happy.”