Our story begins in 2025. Hockey is stagnant in the landscape of sports. With winters becoming shorter due to global warming, and piss poor management by some of the leaders of the sport, morale is low and a change is needed.
The NHL had a cataclysmic change in the early 2020s. The 2013 collective bargaining agreement came to an end in 2023, causing more missed games. The season was shortened to 44 games that year, causing many players to moonlight across the pond. European hockey was growing stronger, so more players remained in their country of origin. The NHL play was more physical, and sick Datsyukian mitts were a thing of the past. 2023 marked a low point in the league’s history. The fans just weren’t showing up. The Panthers moved to Kansas City, and the Coyotes moved to Quebec City following that season. Toronto and Montreal continued to have expensive tickets despite putting sub par players on the ice every night, causing low attendance and support. In an interview, a reporter asked Gary Bettman(now 72) what he thought about the financial troubles in Montreal, to which he jokingly replied “I hear that new arena they built in New Orleans is nice”. This was ultimately the last straw. The 8 Canadian team owners secretly got together and proposed breaking away from the NHL. For the next year, the battle went on in the court. Ultimately, the Canadian teams split and formed the Canadian Dominion Cup effective for the 2026 season. Bettman came away with pride, claiming that they lost the battle but won the war, keeping the trademark Stanley Cup. But little did he know, a mutiny took place, and he was impeached by the owners from the position of commissioner. The CDC played with 8 teams for 2 years before expanding to 12 for 2028-29 season. They retained the rights to CHL junior players, absorbed the Canadian AHL teams, and the NHL lost a chunk of their talent. More Canadian players would stay in the great white north as a result of the new Canadian league. The NHL expanded to 24 with Las Vegas and Seattle both getting teams. The NHL did what they could and put the league on firm footing for the near future.
Everything wasn’t just great for the European teams either. The KHL was recruiting the best teams in Europe, emerging as a rival to the North American leagues. That was until the 2024 season was cancelled do to political unrest and an overthrowing of Vladimir Putin. The European teams that had abandoned their leagues went back to their countries. Russia missed out on a year of hockey, and the talent level dropped, and is being built back. The Champions Hockey League was formed in 2014, a hockey version of Champions League soccer. In the next 10 years, the gap between the good leagues and bad leagues grew and grew. Swedish teams wouldn’t want to play if they had to show up and hand a team from Italy an 8-0 loss. Eventually, the CHL folded and would be remembered as a good idea, but had poor execution.
On the international front, things were just as bad. The Olympics were the only real cornerstone event of international hockey. The best of the best played every 4 years, and then 2 weeks after it started, the teams were blown apart and sent to their respective leagues. In 2016, the Hockey World Cup happened once, and then they didn’t hold it again. The IIHF had their World Championships. Year after year, the summer World Championships got overlooked in the eyes of the players. The majority of players were tired of almost an entire year of hockey, and chose to go on vacation than play a depleted roster of international teams in exotic places like Belarus. In 2021 the IIHF recorded a record loss in profit. They decided not to hold the World Championship yearly, but instead make it a 4 year tournament starting in 2024. That tournament was alright, but the IIHF didn’t do nearly as well as they would’ve liked. The leagues of the world were running away with the power, instead of being ran by a parent federation. in 2027 the IIHF recorded a record loss for the 6th year in a row. That was enough for the governing body, and they declared for bankruptcy. The federation would cancel their 2028 world championship as they worked on the plan for the future.
That’s when 2 smart and handsome men from the US spoke up, and changed the world of hockey as we know it. Michael Taylor, and Dylan Alexander began working on the layout of a new hockey federation. This included a global player market, a way every team would be connected, rather than separated by leagues and borders. Players from Canada could be traded to Finland for example, like how FIFA has been running their federation for years. The idea was that the top tier of hockey was as even as it has ever been. The best in the world deserve to play against the best. The duo put together a plan of action. A 6 month regular season with the occasional international breaks. Then the best teams in each league would play in their respective playoffs. After that, the 9 champions of the 9 best leagues, plus the defending champion would play in a high profile tournament for the best team in the world. The idea was first posted on a sports logo message board, and then gained popularity among hockey fans. The fans liked the idea because they could finally prove to everyone else that their club was the best in the world. Taylor and Alexander traveled to Switzerland to pitch the idea to the IIHF. They loved it, but were worried about the leagues and owners approving it. The duo hosted the leaders of the 9 best leagues in Zurich in a meeting the summer of 2028.
Here is their proposal. The leagues of the world would be broken up into tiers, based on the skill level in their league. Tier 1 would have the 9 best leagues in the world. Tier 2 would have 20 leagues. The leagues in Tier 2 would be various minor leagues, relegation leagues for Tier 1, and other leagues that’s play level isn’t good enough for Tier 1. The champions of Tier 1 leagues play in a tournament called the Super 10 in a rotating host city. The 20 champions from Tier 2 would play in their version of the Super 10 in a selected European city. The leagues must have between 12-24 teams to be eligible. After a month of preseason, each team would play a 60 game regular season schedule over 6 months. The season would run from October to March 31st, 40 days for the playoffs, then the Tier championships begin on May 19th. The qualified teams would be placed in randomized groups of 5 with the group winners moving to a knockout tournament. The international teams would have a more important in the hockey world. Almost every 6 weeks from the start of hockey season, the international teams would play exhibition games. A new point system would be used for rankings, based off the international rugby point exchange system. Those rankings would determine the teams that qualify for the Olympics and World Championship when apply. Those tournaments would replace international breaks when they’re going on. The idea of a pumped up international system really sparked some interest to continue with the “proving you’re the best in the world” idea. Several other changes were made to make the rules of the game universal. They proposed the adoption of the NHL sized rinks and the trapezoid behind the goal, and a unified points system based off the NHL system(2 for win, 1 for OTL, 0 for a loss)
You know what? Here are some pretty graphics that will explain it better.
The plan went over better than expected. The leaders agreed that the 2029-30 season would be the first year under this format. Players could be traded in the world market starting July 1st, and the first international games would start in August. Taylor and Alexander were announced as the new leaders of the IIHF, but rebranded as the World Ice Hockey Federation, in order to usher in the new era of a global game.
Dylan and I branded a lot of stuff, and will go through the leagues, and the season with everyone showing off what we made, ultimately ending with the Super 10 tournament, and Tier 2 Cup. The winter Olympics would take place in 2030, so the jerseys for that will also be posted.