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Editor’s Choice: US Hockey Will Collect More Fans if International Play Increases



In my house, Disney Plus is often playing Bluey or another favorite on my four kids’ playlist. But it’s also home to one of my favorite movies of all time–MiracleMy oldest daughter watched some of it with me, asking questions along the way and at one point asking if the movie about the US Hockey team was real.

I paused it and showed her the actual clips on YouTube, and it started to click. We went through each player, I explained the magnitude of the event and what it meant only to US Hockey, but to the country as well.

“That’s why you have that USA jersey,” she commented, referring to my Mike Eruzione jersey..


US Hockey Addicted Me to the Game

I grew up watching hockey because of the Olympics, regaled by the stories of Eruzione scoring the game winner against the Soviets, and how the team all went on the podium after winning the Gold. But in my lifetime, the pickings were slim in terms of favorite memories. The Olympic showings were a mixed bag, but the US victory in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey kicked up the Patriotic adrenaline again.

When I finally got the chance to see the US team in action with its real stars during the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, it was a crushing disappointment. I woke up for the games (ah, to be 17 again) and went to high school more cantankerous than usual after watching them lose.

When they trashed the hotel room, that teenager loved that they were angry about it.

The ’02 Olympics provided a far more entertaining run, but disappointment in the Gold Medal game, The 2010 version, well, that Sidney Crosby golden goal still makes me want to cry.

Only being able to watch it every four years is hard enough. But not seeing a truly competitive team in over a decade is another.

But when the NHL and NHLPA are discussing a World Cup in 2025 followed by the Olympics in 2026, just inject it into my veins. There could be a staggering depth of talent for the Red, White, and Blue.

It would be a way to showcase the growing talent the United States has on the ice. Heck, the Blackhawks feature much of it in the way of Oliver Moore, Frank Nazar, Gavin Hayes, Sam Rinzel, and Drew Commesso.

I was born eight months after the Miracle. The chance to see the US win an Olympic Gold Medal for the first time would be something.

But a chance for my daughter to see it, too? They’d have another life long fan. Beyond even the men’s games, extending a chance for women to have more international offerings, too.

Returning to where I started, I showed her snippets from other US games, both in the world juniors and other Olympic moments, including the TJ Oshie penalty shot spectacular back in 2014. She was days old when that occurred, and my moment as a new father was tested by having to restrain the cheers.

I explained that there would be likely be more tournaments in the coming years, and the Olympics. She paused, her eyes blinking a few times, and then smiled.

“Can I watch it when they’re on?” she finally inquired.

As if she even had to ask.