When I found out that the NHL had decided to include Team Europe and Team North America in the World Cup of Hockey, I thought, this is a marketing ploy. Add on to the fact that I, like most NHL fans, was already annoyed that there were ads on the shoulders of the jersey. However, I soon changed my mind.
Team North America was supposed to be a team of under-23 talent from the United States and Canada, including so-called "generational players" such as Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews. It didn't make sense to most people, because why would such a team field talent that could be used to give Team Canada and Team USA a large boost?
However, Team North America won the hearts of the crowd, and soon, I was one of their biggest supporters. I watched them beat Sweden in overtime on a SICK Nate Mackinnon goal, and that was it. I, along with Morgan Reilly (comment if you get the reference), thought that they were going to the semifinals.
Look at those hands!
Except there was one problem. Team Russia was also battling for the final spot in the semis, and they had to have a loss to Team Finland the next day in order for Team North America to make the semifinal. That day, there were lots of Finland fans all across the continent, hoping that North America would win it. But what would've been a Cinderella story came to an abrupt end when Finland lost to Russia, allowing them to take the final spot.
Team North America was no more. They were a team that used dedication and determination, combined with skill, to get where they were. But they didn't go all the way. Next World Cup of Hockey, whenever that is, the same group of amazing young players will never get together again. And that is what saddens me the most. Team North America, you have come so far.