Nicholson considering changes to Canadian Worlds approach Staff

5/16/2011 10:07:47 PM

After failing to come home with a medal for the second straight year at the World Championship, Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson is ready to take a hard look at what his organization can do to make Canada more competitive at the tournament in the future.

"One thing we're looking at is that [the tournament date] is later now. So, when you finish the playoffs what do you do with that two, two-and-a-half week window?" asked Nicholson, who was a guest on Monday's Cybulski and Company show on TSN 1050.

"There has been comments today that maybe we should have a mini-camp to see who's going to be there. We've looked at trying to give [players] some time off and then bringing them back. Maybe one is that we should name our Olympic management staff earlier and that they be a part of that so that they certainly have their eyes on the players. There are a number of things that we'll look at over the next couple months and try to make it more attractive for the players to participate for Team Canada."

Nicholson also reiterated his comments from last week that he was disappointed with certain players who didn't answer the call and join Team Canada at the Worlds.

"We asked a number of players that didn't make it, that I thought should have been there," stated Nicholson. "They've had great experiences with us at under-18 and national junior team and Olympics and we certainly don't expect players to be there every year, but I think it's a responsibility of players [who] have really benefitted from the program to get over there and play once in a while, especially if they don't make the playoffs.

"We get mixed reactions. We get players that aren't making the playoffs call us right away to see if they can come and then we get others that say no before we even call them."

Nicholson said that intertwining the World Championship team with the eventual selection of the Olympic team shouldn't be the main reason players decide to go to the World Championship. However, he did admit it's something Hockey Canada will look at prior to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

"International hockey means a lot to Canadians and our numbers with TSN continue to grow with the men's world championships. You look at what happened with the Olympics and World Juniors; I think it's something that players should try to strive to get to put on that Canadian jersey," explained Nicholson. "We have to look at ourselves inside at Hockey Canada, and how can we make that better."

With several European teams comprised of mostly non-NHL players, many clubs have the luxury of playing multiple games together before the tournament begins, something the Canadian squad does not.

"If you can get together, it certainly helps you bring your group of players together as a team, so it's something we'll look at," said Nicholson. "Or is it better to give them a couple weeks off so they can spend some time with their family, get regrouped and get over there?"

"This time our team came together very quickly, but it's about creating interest for the players first and foremost, and then sort of building the fan base here as much as we can for the men's world championship."

Despite the fifth-place finish for the Canadians at this year's World Championship, Nicholson remains dedicated to making sure Canada stays golden - not just at the Olympics, but at the World Championship as well.

"It's building and I think it builds through the World Juniors. If you look at the television numbers we have for the World Juniors, it's unbelievable," explained Nicholson. "We have to try to build the World championship, not to a Stanley Cup level, but to an interest that not just the fans but the players really want to win that gold medal and be really proud of it."