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Entries with the tag: frank neal
This Sunday is Father’s Day in Sweden and Finland, and a good way to celebrate that is to take your father to a hockey game. And since it’s Father’s Day, it must also be time for the first international break in the European leagues. Fans can put their club replica sweaters away for a week, and focus on supporting their national teams. In Helsinki, Finland, there’s the first Euro Hockey Tour tournament for Finland, Sweden, Russia, and the Czech Republic while Germany hosts Slovakia, Switzerland and the US in the Deutschland Cup in Munich.
The national team games have different vibes, of course, especially the ones with the host team playing because the crowd is fully behind one of the teams. This weekend, all Finns will wave the blue and white flag of Finland. And there will be lots of them.
The Euro Hockey Tour, the four tournament series of the four big hockey nations, gives their coaches a chance to try out new players, and work with the system because for the European teams, these tournaments function as preparation for the World Championships. None of the teams will ever get all their best NHL players to the Worlds. Finland, for example, won the World Championship in Bratislava with 20 players of their 22+3 players coming from the European leagues. Sweden, the team Finland beat in the final, had 16 players from European leagues.