Just like you, Connor McDavid dreaming of hockey best-on-best after classic WBC final

Oilers superstar Connor McDavid talks about how cool it was to see the WBC finals best-on-best matchup between Ohtani and Trout, says that’s what we’ve been asking for, and what hockey’s been missing for this past decade.

You can add Connor McDavid‘s voice to the chorus of impatient hockey fans who want to see a best-on-best tournament.

The instant-classic World Baseball Classic championship clash between Japan’s best and the United States’ best Tuesday renewed the debate about the missed opportunity for hockey fans who haven’t seen their favourite players participate in a best-on-best tournament in more than six years.

Particularly, baseball fans were loving the confrontation between Los Angeles Angels teammates Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, who faced each other with two out in the ninth inning of the Japan-USA final. Ohtani, who was named tournament MVP, struck out Trout to salvage a 3-2 title win for Japan.

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“I thought it was really cool,” McDavid told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s what we’ve been asking for in hockey for a long time, right, best-on-best?”

The WBC confrontation had hockey fans lamenting the fact that hockey hasn’t had a best-on-best tournament since the 2016 World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, in which young stars McDavid, Auston Matthews, Jack Eichel and Nathan MacKinnon turned things upside down with fire-wagon hockey on Team North America.

But now, more than six years later, that next generation of superstars is now at its peak performance, with no best-on-best-format tournament on the horizon. Hockey fans are lamenting the fact they might not see Sidney Crosby play alongside McDavid and MacKinnon, and against top international players such as Team USA teammates Matthews, Eichel, Matthew Tkachuk and Patrick Kane.

“Look, everyone is talking about baseball, ‘Did you see Ohtani vs. Trout?’ and that’s what hockey’s been missing for almost a decade now,” McDavid said. “That’s what we’ve been asking for.”

The NHL players did not participate in the last two Olympics, held in 2022 and 2018, last taking part in 2014, when Canada dominated on its way to gold in Sochi, Russia.

The NHL and NHLPA announced in November that the World Cup of Hockey, originally scheduled for 2024, has been pushed back at least a year because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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