John Tavares pushing for a more regular ''best-on-best'' hockey schedule

Published April 4, 2022 at 9:15
BY MIKE ARMENTI
Leafs captain John Tavares has had the rare opportunity to represent his country in a best-on-best scenario on a number of occasions. He takes nothing for granted and knows just how blessed he is to have had the opportunity to do so, while many of the younger players now have not.

"We need it. It's important for our game, especially considering this next generation of players we have now. With Papi [Auston Matthews], Mitchy [Marner], [Leon] Draisaitl, Connor [McDavid], [Cale] Makar, this is kinda the next wave of guys. 

"And obviously we still have so many great players — and Sid and Ovie lead the way as two of the best of all time — that are getting later in their careers. I think when you have best-on-best hockey, you get all those players together. It's really special. We don't really get that. Getting to play for your country, we know how rare that is."

- Tavares on the importance of best-on-best hockey for the players and for the game



Tavares was one of the NHL players who was very vocal about wanting the NHL players to be able to attend the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing. Unfortunately, COVID-19 had other plans.

The Leafs' captain has been a big proponent of regular best-on-best play, whether that means an established tournament like the World Cup of Hockey, or a new best-on-best tournament that would occur more regularly.

"Other sports have a really good job of that. We need to develop some type of calendar that's really consistent. I think that provides a lot of clarity for players, for the league, for everybody. Whether it's one event, a couple events, having some of that would be really good for our game and good for everybody.

"But I think, no doubt, especially with skipping at the Olympics this year, everyone playing for their country, that national pride, best on best, it's hard to recreate that. And it's so rare for us."

- JT on the idea of more routine international competition

I know from my own personal experience how much I enjoy watching the Olympics and the World Cup of Hockey when the NHL players are involved. Getting to see what it's like for players like Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid and Nathan MacKinnon play together for Team Canada would be a dream. Also seeing a trio like Auston Matthews, Patrick Kane and Matthew Tkachuk for the US Team would be a treat as well.

I'm with JT on this one. Whatever the League can do to collaborate with the IIHF to organize a regular calendar for these types of events, I think they should absolutely do it.
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